Navigating UAE’s Cyber Law - Addressing Rumours and Safeguarding Privacy

Posted by Dr. Hassan Elhais on January 10th, 2024

Spreading Rumours and Fake News

In the digital age, misinformation has become a difficult challenge, with potential consequences on public opinion, peace, and national interests.

Article 52 of Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021 aims to prevent the spread of false, malicious, or misleading information that challenges officially announced news, disturbs public peace, threatens people, or harms public interest, the national economy, public order, or public health.

The penalties outlined in Article 52 mean offenders can face detention for a minimum of one year and a fine of not less than AED 100,000.

In more severe cases, where the spreading of fake news provokes public opinion against a state authority or occurs during epidemics, crises, emergencies, or disasters, the penalties increase to a minimum of 2 years of detention and a fine of not less than AED 200,000.

Electronic Extortion and Threat:

Cybercriminals exploiting information networks or technology methods to force or threaten others are addressed in Article 42. Offenders may face detention for up to 2 years and fines ranging from AED 250,000 to AED 500,000.

If the threat includes an indirect or express request to perform or withdraw from an act, the penalty may extend to provisional imprisonment for up to 10 years. Additionally, Articles 402 to 404 of Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021, the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law (UAE Penal Code), specifically address threats.

Threatening another person with a felony against life, property, or honour may result in temporary imprisonment for up to 7 years. The severity of the penalty depends on the nature and situation of the threat.

Insult and Slander:

Article 43 outlines those who use information networks or technology methods to insult or attribute false events to individuals, subjecting them to punishment or contempt. Penalties may include detention and fines ranging from AED 250,000 to AED 500,000.

The law considers it an aggravating circumstance if such acts are directed towards public servants or public service officials due to the performance of their duties. Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021 on the Penal Code complements the Cyber Law by addressing crimes involving defamation, insult, and disclosure of secrets.

Articles 425 to 431 include the penalties for these offenses. Public officials or persons assigned to public service, if involved in defamation or insult, may face greater penalties.

Disclosure of Secrets and Privacy Breach:

Privacy breaches are addressed in Article 44 of the Cyber Law, including actions such as eavesdropping, interception, recording, and the spreading of private information without consent. Offenders may face detention for a minimum of 6 months and fines ranging from AED 150,000 to AED 500,000.

Additionally, the law prohibits the unauthorized publication of photographs of casualties, dead persons, or victims of accidents or disasters. Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021 reinforces protection measures under Article 431 and introduces penalties for unauthorized interference in personal space, including acts like eavesdropping, recording private conversations, and taking pictures without consent.

The law extends to the publication of personal or family life details, imposing fines and imprisonment, with public officials facing heightened consequences. Confiscation of devices and deletion of recordings are instructed.

Article 433 addresses opening letters or eavesdropping on calls, with fines and potential jail time. Additionally, Article 434 specifies penalties for unlawfully duplicating or distributing confidential information obtained through one’s duty.

Conclusion:

These regulations not only serve as a preventive but also establish a foundation for a secure digital environment, safeguarding public interest, national security, and individual privacy.



Author

Dr. Hassan Elhais, legal consultant in Dubai along with his team of legal consultants and prominent local lawyers across the UAE, has made a name for himself as a renowned specialist in the fields of civil law, construction law, banking law, criminal law, family law, inheritance law, company incorporation, and arbitration.

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Dr. Hassan Elhais

About the Author

Dr. Hassan Elhais
Joined: December 20th, 2020
Articles Posted: 440

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