With the use of social media increasing day by day, it is important to know the privacy laws in UAE, especially the parents. Some posts and photographs that the children post on social media sites could lead to privacy complications if there is a complaint. So it is important to know how effectively one could use the social media without breaking the rules of the country.
Legal risks social media users in UAE should know
Social media is a powerful tool to connect millions and send your views across, and share updates of your day to day life. But, at the same time, it has its risks. Whatever you post online becomes public information at once. You unknowingly share your life events with strangers, who may use that information to their advantage. Here are some rules you should keep in mind:
> Posting photographs: Care needs to be taken when posting pictures of others online, including via social media sites since the Cyber Crimes Law (Federal Law No. 5 of 2012) makes it an offence to use any IT means to breach someone else’s privacy, including by taking pictures of others, or publishing or displaying those pictures.
> Privacy and confidentiality: Disclosing secrets relating to someone’s private life, without that person’s consent can attract liability. Similarly, disclosure of confidential information, such as information belonging to an employer, can also attract legal liability in the UAE.
> Using emoticons and emojis: Besides, one should be careful while using certain types of emojis while talking online. For example, if one uses the emoji of a ‘middle finger’ in a conversation and the recipient complaints about the act, it could lead one to jail, fines and deportation.
> Defamatory statements: The Penal Code makes it an offence to publish information that exposes another person to public hatred or contempt, or to make a false accusation which dishonours or discredits another person.
> Content contrary to morality, social cohesion: It is an offence to use any IT means for activities which are inconsistent with public morals and good conduct including content that is un-Islamic, blasphemous, lewd, that encourages sinful activity, or that is aimed at corrupting minors, etc.
> Online monitoring: UAE TRA monitors online content available and prohibits content for hacking and malicious codes, Internet content providing unlicensed VoIP services and other illegal Internet content.
> Licensed service providers (du and etisalat) can also block online content if required and subsequent to complaints of abuse or defamation, authorities can take legal action against those running the sites after verifying the validity and seriousness of the complaint.
What UAE law says about cybercrimes, penalties
The UAE has clear – and strict – laws against cybercrimes, with various penalties that can include lengthy prison terms and fines of up to Dh3 million.
UAE Cybercrime Law No. 5 of 2012, which was issued by the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, includes a range of violations and penalties, with fines ranging between Dh50,000 and Dh3 million depending on the type and severity of offence.
> Those caught gaining access to a website, network or system without authorisation are to be imprisoned and fined at least Dh50,000, but fines can go as high as Dh1 million if personal information is stolen or deleted.
> Those caught using technology to invade someone else’s privacy – which can even include eavesdropping, copying photos or publishing news – can be jailed for six months and face fines of between Dh150,000 and Dh300,000.
> The most severe penalty – five years in jail and a Dh3 million fine – is reserved for those who run malicious software that causes a network or IT system to stop functioning ‘or results in crashing, deletion, omission, destruction and alteration of the programme, system, website, data or information’.
> Additionally, the law stipulates various penalties for a number of other cybercrimes, including insulting religions and their rituals, slandering public officials, forging electronic official documents, sending or re-publishing pornographic materials, reproducing credit or debit card data, and obtaining secret pin codes or passwords.
Read the full 10-page text of the law here