UAE's Measures Against Cybercrimes: Federal Decree Law No. 34

UAE’s Battle Against Cybercrimes: A Closer Look at Digital Offenses

As the world continues to benefit from the usage of technology, there are also growing crimes as a result. Criminals have an advantage in the borderless network system because they can profit from access and anonymity. Any criminal activity involving a computer, a networked device or network is considered a cybercrime. To protect the people and organizations from the growing cyber threats that have become a problem in today’s world, the UAE has taken necessary steps to tackle cybercrimes by enacting Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021 on Combatting Rumours and Cybercrimes.

A few examples of cybercrimes in the UAE are provided below:

1. Illegal sites

Visiting sites that have been blocked by the government in the UAE is illegal. Any individual who visits an illegal site faces imprisonment for at least 6 months and/or a fine not less than 100 AED and not more than 300 AED. The new cybercrime law also provides that changing, publishing, deleting or disclosing any data obtained through visiting the illegal site may lead to a fine of 150,000 AED and not exceeding 750,000 AED.

2. Publishing photos of an individual

Sharing photos of an individual online without their permission is a criminal offense as it breaches people’s privacy. Taking photos of people without their consent could result in a fine not less than 250,000 AED and reaching up to a maximum of 500,000 AED or imprisonment.

3. Defamation

False words about another person that could harm their reputation constitute the criminal offense of defamation. In the UAE, defamation can occur in two ways. Slander is one of the two ways and occurs when someone verbally makes false statements about someone as if they were true. On the other hand, libel occurs when someone publishes false statements via media. Defamation is punishable by up to two years in prison or a fine of up to 20,000 AED.

4. Tampering with sensitive information

Tampering with sensitive information such as medical records, bank accounts and confidential codes is unlawful in the UAE. Obtaining, amending or disclosing medical data without permission is punishable by temporary imprisonment. Accessing credit card information and bank accounts is punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. Obtaining confidential codes without permission is punishable by a fine of no less than 200,000 AED and no more than 500,000 AED and/or imprisonment.

5. Gambling

Gambling or any material that prejudices public morals is prohibited in the UAE. Any person who operates a website containing gambling or any immoral material may be punished by a fine not less than 250,000 AED and not more than 500,000 AED and can face imprisonment.

6. Extortion

Extortion is the act of obtaining something from someone through threats, coercion, etc. Blackmailing is a type of extortion which constitutes a criminal offense as per UAE law. Anyone who extorts or threatens someone can face a detention for not more than 2 years and/or pay a fine no less than 250,000 AED and may reach up to 500,000 AED.

7. eBegging

Begging or collecting donation through online channels without a license from the competent authority is punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine not less than 200,000 AED and not exceeding 500,000 AED.

8. Protests

Using the internet to plan, promote, and organize a protest without a license from the relevant authority may land the individual a fine up to 1,000,000 AED and no less than 500,000 AED or imprisonment.

9. Human trafficking

Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery affecting all ages and genders. According to article 23 of Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021 on Combatting Rumours and Cybercrimes anyone who operates, supervises or establishes a site for the purpose of organ and/or human trafficking faces temporary imprisonment and a fine not less than 500,000 AED and not more than 1,000,000 AED.

10. Offending religion

Anyone who uses the internet to display contempt for any holy symbols, figures, and rituals of Islam or any other religion may face imprisonment and a fine not less than 250,000 AED and may extend to 1,000,000 AED.

11. Illegal funds

Illegal funds can be obtained through several means such as money laundering, sale of narcotics, cryptocurrency theft and phishing scams. Obtaining money through operating a site promoting narcotics can lead to a fine not less than 500,000 AED and not exceeding 1,000,000 AED. With regard to money laundering, someone who utilizes the internet to transfer or credit unlawful funds with the goal to conceal their source may be subject to a fine of at least 500,000 AED and as much as 2,000,000 AED.

12. Illegal cryptocurrency

Any cryptocurrency which is not licensed or not recognized in the UAE is considered illegal. Anyone who promotes or deals in cryptocurrency online which is not licensed by the competent authority and not recognized in the country may face imprisonment and/or a fine of at least 20,000 AED and not more than 500,000 AED.

The UAE has set up several services to report any and all cybercrimes. An individual can report the cybercrimes online through several channels such as eCrime, Aman service and My Safe Society.

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