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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:40:59


UAE, law, cybercrime


Nowadays the Internet has altered communication to a degree that everyone now favors the virtual mode of communication. In almost every little thing we do; we operate the Internet. Ordering food, buying electronics, sharing instants with a friend, sending a photograph over instantaneous messaging. The Internet has inclined into a cosmopolitan multi-faceted tool allowing individuals to fabricate content, communicate with one another, and even desert from reality. Today, we can transfer data from one edge of the planet to the other in a matter of seconds, make virtual presentations, live in simultaneous “game worlds,” and use pictures, video, sound, and text to share our real worlds, our veritable self. Individual stories go public; local businesses become global.

But the Internet can be a menacing spot. Facts that individuals put up on the Internet are not always scrutinized, and some may be unreliable. Some may even be deleterious. Also, if someone sends data through the internet, sometimes other people can peruse it even when they are not supposed to. Such instances breed to “Cyber Crime”. These crimes know no frontiers, either physical or virtual, cause consequential distress and constitute very real dangers to victims universally.

UAE has recently amended the cybercrime law and has incorporated several new activities, which can be contemplated as cybercrime under the law. The New Cyber Crime Law makes additional grades of offenses inclining to the growth in the happening of online lawlessness in the United Arab Emirates ("UAE"). The New Cyber Crime Law, which abrogates the Old Cyber Crime Law or the Federal Law Number 2 of 2006, bears 51 Articles with it that necessitate realistically all the infringements in the Penal Code and other UAE laws; each time has done over the web that torments the impression of an individual or the calibre of the State, that is each Emirate of the UAE, the individual will be acutely fined as well as confined.


Cybercrimes in the UAE are governed under Federal Decree-Law Number 5/2012 on countering cybercrimes. Defaming public executives, falsify electronic deeds, replicating credit card data, offending religions, acquiring other’s passwords for bank accounts, or fabricating any medical information shall be counted as cybercrimes under this law.


  1. Narcotics and Money Laundering

The New Cyber Crime Law interdicts any person from initiating, working, or overseeing an electronic site or printing data online for the encouragement of narcotics and psychotropic drugs. Article 37 also imposes penalties of confinement and a fine of not less than AED 500,000 and not surpassing AED 2,000,000 for any person using electronic sites to transmit or drop illegal funds with the purpose to hide their origin.

  1. Access to an Electronic Information System

Article 2 of the New Cyber Crime Law eliminates the objective requirement and interdicts any person from obtaining an electronic site illegally, without permission, or by beating the limits of said permission, and issues for a fine of not less than AED one hundred thousand and not exceeding AED three hundred thousand. It dispenses a penalty of imprisonment for at least six months and/or for altering, duplicating, removing, revealing, and printing any data procured by accessing an electronic site illegally.

Article 4 of the New Cyber Crime Law further states that any person who enters, non-consensually any electronic site for the aim of attaining government data or confidential information of a financial trade or economic institution shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and/or a fine. There is an increase in penalty if such data is altered, duplicated, erased, revealed, or printed which includes a fine of not less than AED 250,000 and not exceeding AED 1,500,000 and/or imprisonment for a period not less than five years.

  • Electronic Communication

Article 10 interdicts the derangement of electronic communication by spamming electronic mail. Article 15 of the New Cyber Crime Law also provides that it is an offense for persons to deliberately and without permission ambush communications virtually. Further, a person who divulges information attained in this manner may be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.

  1. Defamation

Under Article 20, any person who offends others or has ascribed to another a situation that may make him subject to punishment or contempt by others by using an electronic site shall be punished by imprisonment or a fine of not less than AED 250,000 and not exceeding AED 500,000. Insult or slander against public officials is contemplated as an aggravating circumstance of the crime.

  1. Forgery

Article 13 further interdicts the forgery, emulation, and copying of a credit card, debit card, and any other electronic payment method and punishes persons from using and consciously accepting such credit cards, debit cards, and/or other electronic payment methods with imprisonment and/or a fine of not less than AED 500,000 and not exceeding AED 2,000,000.

  1. Banks

Article 12 enlarges the groups of private information and punishes any person who illegally ingresses credit card numbers, electronic card numbers, bank account statements, and details of electronic payment methods by imprisonment and/or a fine. It punishes the goal to use and the use of such information to acquire funds affinity to third parties by imprisonment of not less than six months and/or a fine not less than AED 200,000 and not exceeding AED 1,000,000.

Article 14 of the New Cyber Crime Law also interdicts a person from deriving without permission a confidential number, code, or password used to access any electronic site without permission by providing for imprisonment and/or a fine not less than AED 200,000 and not exceeding AED 500,000.

  • Extortion

If any person extorts another, endangers another, or forces another person to engage or disengage from a certain act through information technology shall be punished by imprisonment for 2 years and/or a fine shall be imposed from AED 250,000 to AED 500,00. If the subject of such threat lies with enacting a felony or with the purpose of such matters that are against honour/morals, then such action shall be subject to imprisonment up to 10 years.

  • State Security

Article 29 of the New Cyber Crime Law also prescribes penalties of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding AED 1,000,000 for any person who may generate or operate an electronic site or any information technology means, to damage the reputation of the state or any of its institutions, its President, the Vice President, any of the Rulers of the emirates, their Crown Princes, the Deputy Rulers, the national flag, the national anthem, the emblem of the state or any of its symbols.

Article 28 interdicts any person from publishing any data, news, burlesques, or any other kind of pictures that would pose threats to the security of the state and to the highest interests or contravene its public order.

Article 30 punishes any person from producing or running an electronic site for the aim of engaging in the toppling of the system of government of the state or to seize it, or the laws of the state, or to repel the basic principles which account for the substratum of the system of government of the state.

  1. Trafficking in Antiquities

Article 33 stipulates penalties of imprisonment and a fine of not less than AED 500,000 and not more than AED 1,000,000 on any person using electronics to engage in the unauthorized trade of antiquities and works of art. Further, Article 34 stipulates penalties of imprisonment and a fine of not less than AED 250,000 and not exceeding AED 1,000,000 on any person using an electronic site to engross in the unsanctioned use of or provide unjustified facilities to others to use communication services or audio and video channels.


Cybercrime is certainly getting the appreciation it deserves. However, it is not going to moderate that easily. It is most likely that cybercrime and its hackers will continue evolving and upgrading to outride the law. All we can do as citizens are to safeguard ourselves by securing our information, whom we give it to, and how much we give it out.

- Hetal Bansal