You may look good on those selfies you took on your mobile phone. But unless you are alone or pose with friends who consciously want to be in that snapshot, you could be in trouble if the photo was taken in the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE has a law that considers taking a photo of a stranger, deliberately or not, without his or her permission is considered a violation of privacy. If the person in question files a complaint against you for sharing such a photo on social media, he or she may have a case and you could be fined, sent to jail or both.
According to an article on Emarat Al Youm, lawyer Noura Saleh Al Hajri said that the number of complaints involving ‘stolen shots’, and selfies in private events, parties, and weddings have increased over the past three years.
The influence of social media has got people encouraged to share photos of their activities on their accounts. According to January 2019 statistics compiled by We Are Social, social media penetration in United Arab Emirates is 99%, which means of the country’s population of 9.61 million, 9.52 million are considered as active social media users.
Without enough awareness of the law, many of such users could be held accountable and if found guilty under Article 21(2) of the Cybercrime Law, the defendant can be punished by imprisonment of a period of at least six months and a fine of not less than AED150,000 and not in excess of AED500,000. The law will still apply even if the photos taken on a stranger was unintentional, so proper awareness and appropriate action must be taken before the owner of the photo shares it online.
So the next time you’re sharing your selfie shots on social media, make sure they don’t include those who are not supposed to be there. Should you need to post these photos with them acting like “photo bombers”, pasting their faces with emojis might help.