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The Cyber Crimes Law 2012 provides for a range of new offences, including offences intended to address the UAE’s obligations pursuant to international treaties. Additionally, the UAE Cyber Crimes Law sets out significantly higher penalties than those found in the 2006 law.
The general themes of the provisions of the Cyber Crimes Law can be broadly categorised as follows:
The provisions that relate to IT security address issues like hacking IT networks to steal data, change websites, interrupt service, distribute viruses, and the like. More specifically, the provisions in this category can be summarised as follows.
Basically, these provisions are all targeted at the integrity of the IT System, and data held or transmitted over such IT System.
State security and political stability
A number of provisions are specifically pointed at state security and dignity, and political stability. The provisions in this category can be summarised as follows.
These provisions set-out a range of prohibitions designed to manage security threats, such as terrorism and organised crime, as well as to protect the system of government.
Morality and proper conduct
A number of provisions are pointed at proper conduct. These include sanctions on using the internet for conduct that is disrespectful to Islam, as well as prohibitions on the use of the internet for activities that are otherwise inconsistent with public morals and good conduct. In summary, these include using an IT System to:
Financial and commercial issues
There are a number of provisions that can broadly be understood as relating to ecommerce and online financial activity. These include:
There are a number of other provisions of interest that do not neatly fall into the categories outlined above.
Articles 23, 25, 33 and 36 appear to be aimed directly at addressing international obligations as specified in related treaties. These provisions relate to human trafficking and trafficking in human organs, trading in weapons, ammunition and explosives, trading in antiquities and trading or promoting narcotics.
Of the other ‘miscellaneous’ offences, there are prohibitions on:
Mechanical provisions of note
There are a number of important ‘mechanical’ provisions, including provisions that provide for the extra-territorial application of the Cyber Crimes Law, and the liability of site owners for failure to remove offending content.
Besides providing for significant financial penalties and custodial sentences, and the deportation of foreigners convicted of any offence under the law, the Cyber Crimes Law empowers the authorities to seize and destroy equipment used in the commission of the offence.
Al Tamimi & Company’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications team regularly advises clients on how to work within the law on the types of matters covered by the Cyber Crimes Law. We work closely with colleagues in other departments to assist clients with issues arising from apparent breaches of prohibitions found in the Cyber Crimes Law. For further information on Cyber Crimes Law matters, please contact Nick O’Connell (firstname.lastname@example.org).