Cybersecurity Laws In The UAE: What Businesses Should Know

Nations all over the world are tightening legislations in the area of cyber laws and security. They know that as we are moving towards a world dominated by internet technologies, software tools, apps and websites, problems and issues of online safety will become important.

In this regard, one country that has been playing a proactive role has been the nation of UAE. With its newfound status as one of the world’s leading commercial capitals, UAE’s New Cyber Law has increased restrictions, fines, penalties and imprisonment times for offenders.

In this informative article on Cybersecurity Laws in the UAE, we look at some highlights that can help businesses understand their operations better. If you are someone that is running a business operation in the UAE, or planning to open one in the future, please read the article.

The History of Cyber Laws in the UAE

The first law on Internet Privacy and Online Safety was passed by the Government in 2006. It was termed as the Federal Law Number 1 on Electronics and Communication. The scope of the law at that time, roughly fifteen years earlier was not very detailed or expansive.

This was followed by the Ministerial Resolution in 2008, which expanded the penalties and brought in fines and the imprisonment principle. This was followed by Federal Law Number 5 and the Emiri Decree Number 2. All this were outlining about online behaviour and activities.

The most comprehensive Cyber Law regulation came into being in 2012-13. The earlier Federal Law Number 5 came into being, with the same being updated in 2016 with Federal Law Number 12. The modern understanding of cyber law is governed by Number 12.

For businesses, this means keeping a tab on everchanging legislations to ensure compliance. While this might be tough for owners and entrepreneurs, a great idea would be to hire leading business lawyers that can help out with a proper understanding. To understand this, know more.

The Changes and Additions to UAE’s Cyber Law

  1. Changes in Medical Data-

In the new legislation, Article 7 speaks about how an individual’s confidential medical records, including history, tests and other specificities should not be divulged online. No third-party, whether an individual or a business can get access to an individual’s personal medical records, without being permission under any circumstances. This has been brought to ensure privacy.

  1. Alterations in E-Money Laws and Rules-

Given the growing dependence on credit cards, debit cards, net banking and wallets, Article 12 of the law states an imprisonment period of six months and a fine anywhere between 200000 AED to 1000000 AED to anyone caught trying to access someone else’s e-money credentials and details. Article 13 deals with forgery of electronic cards and extensive fines for misuse.

  1. Confidential Information and Communication Legislations-

With the growth in electronic communication, the cyber law states that it is punishable to track, record, and pass on communication. Article 10 of the law deals with this principle. In addition to a fine of 150000 AED, the person who leaks the private communication can also be imprisoned depending upon the seriousness and intent of the crime that has been committed.

  1. Online Gambling or Accessing Pornographic Materials-

UAE being an Islamic country is strict when it comes to immoral vices like gambling or pornography. The law states that such activities are a moral problem and dictates heavy fines and punishment for any individual or business trying to engage with them. Article 17 of the Cyber Crime Law deals harshly with fines up to 500000 AED and one year imprisonment.

  1. Religion in Online Dealings and Communications-

Lastly, but very importantly, Article 35 points out and stipulates that any individual using electronic forms and mediums to portray God (Allah) in a bad light will be fined up to 1,000,000 AED and can be imprisoned for a stipulated period. This is one area where the country of UAE is very strict as it adhered to the Shariah Code and Islamic way of living.

The Final Takeaway

While UAE was slow as far as laws on cybersecurity was concerned, it has made up for it in terms of pursuing strict implementation. If you want to do business in the UAE, you need to have a proper understanding of how the various cyber laws work. At no point, would you want to transgress them and invite heavy fines or penalties. If you would like us to connect you with a leading business law firm that can help you navigate cybersecurity laws and issues, please let us know in the comments section below.

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