Thursday, August 11, 2022

Lack of Public Awareness on UAE Cyber Laws

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The news about an Australian woman jailed by court in Abu Dhabi for posting a photo of an improperly parked vehicle may have helped promote awareness that cyber laws in the United Arab Emirates exist, yet experts say there is still lack of awareness in making them widely understood.

One of such laws, the Federal Decree Law No. 5 on combating cyber crimes, stipulate that it is prohibited to take photos of others or “creating, transferring, disclosing, copying or saving electronic photos [in addition to] publishing news, electronic photos or photographs, scenes, comments, statements or information” without permission, a report from Gulf News read.

Likewise, slanderous statements and insulting others online can lead to punishment by jail, fine or even deportation. The Australian woman received such fate after posting a photo of a wrongly-parked vehicle, along with “bad comments” on social media.

An American man, who was employed as an helicopter mechanic in UAE, vented his frustration over his sick leave benefits on Facebook has been summoned by police.

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“This is the first time I am hearing about such rules,” local citizen Saeed Al Reyami told Gulf News.

Yet it has been noted that despite their apparent lack of awareness of the cyber laws, UAE residents are generally cautious in posting information relating to other people online.

“I think that people are generally responsible in the UAE when surfing the web. However, I do believe that regardless of whether there’s a law about it or not, people should be considerate of others when interacting on social media because it is, after all, a public platform,” said 32-year-old Indian resident Ashfana Abdul Hamid as she stressed that authorities need to exert more effort to educate the public about the law.

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