In an amended Cybercrime Law, taking photos of someone in the UAE without the subject’s permission attracts six months of jail and a hefty fine ranging from AED150,000 to AED500,00 or both.
The amended law is expected to protect citizens and residents in the growing digital era and will come into effect from January 2, 2022.
It also presents tougher penalties in certain crimes such as causing damages to data systems of banks, media, health and sciences sectors.
It offers additional protection to internet users from electronic frauds and preserves personal privacy and rights. The new law also gives courts powers to confiscate devices, software, content, or other means used in the crime.
Citing Article 5 of the law, anyone who intentionally damages, suspends, or stops a website of a government entity or vital facility can be jailed and fined between AED500,000 and AED3 million.
The new amendments covered crimes committed online, including bullying, harassment, and dissemination of fake news, Wageh Amin Abdelaziz, senior legal adviser at World Centre Advocates and Legal Consultants, told Gulf News.
Recording people in public places is now a punishable offence in the amended law.
“Taking pictures of others in public places was a controversial topic as it used to be a crime only if the picture was taken in a private, not public place. The amendment to the law now makes it punishable [taking someone’s picture in a public place],” he said.
Those who take pictures of others in public or private places without the permission of the person shall be jailed for six months and fined between AED5,000 and AED500,000 or both.
“As of January 2 next year, taking pictures in public places for tracking a person or secretly recording him or her will be a crime. People can take pictures and selfies in public places and document their moments freely, but one must always remember not to breach the privacy of others and respect their personal privacy and rights,” Abdelaziz reminded the public.