Published: Dec 22, 2021

New UAE Cybercrimes Law to come into force in January 2022

The new Decree by Federal Law No. 34 of 2021 (“Cybercrimes Law”) cancels the previous relevant legislation, namely the Decree by Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 concerning the combat of cybercrimes. Below is some of the key changes to take note of:

Banking, Medical, Media and Scientific Institutions

Given the importance of such institutions, the Cybercrimes Law further elaborated on the same by referencing and naming those specific institutions to provide for an aggravated penalty.

A penalty of imprisonment term (not less than a year) and/or a fine ranging between AED 500,000 up to AED 3 Million applies on anyone who deliberately disables, suspends or damages/cause harm to an electronic system, website or tool as defined in the Cybercrimes Law.

An aggravation of the penalty applies if the damages/harm affects a banking, medical, media or a scientific institution, the penalty would increase. In such circumstances, the imprisonment increases to a minimum of 3 years with a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Elaborative Provisions & Enhanced Structure

Massive changes occurred in terms of re-ordering the relevant provisions and restructuring them. Many additions were also made to the legislation. This provides for more elaboration and clarity of similar counterparts from the previous legislation.

For example, unauthorized access to websites and electronic platforms was clarified by making a direct reference to the word “hacking” in the new provision – a term that is more common and known in the cyber world.

Impersonating others

A key provision was introduced to address specifically the instances of creating false electronic emails, website or accounts with the aim of impersonating an individual or a corporate entity.

Article 11 of the Cybercrimes Law imposes an imprisonment penalty and/or a fine not less than AED 50,000 up to AED 200,000 on whoever creates an email, website or an electronic account and falsely attributes it to another. The penalty of imprisonment would be 2 years if the email, website or electronic account was used in a manner that harms the victim (being the real individual or corporate entity).

Additional Specifics

Below are examples of the new elaborated separate articles /sub-provisions addressing specific crimes:

  • Cryptocurrency and similar currency: for promoting or encouraging in any manner the use of cryptocurrency or similar currency that is not recognized in the UAE or without obtaining a prior approval from the competent authority.
  • Bribery: for whoever requests, accepts or takes a benefit in return of publishing illegal or false content.
  • Consumer Protection: for promoting services or products through deceitful advertisement or incorrect information
  • Medical Products: for promoting or sale of medical products that are not licensed or counterfeit medical products
  • Breaching Applicable Media Standards: for content not in line with approved media standards How can we help Should you need any further information or advice with respect to the New Law and the changes it has brought, please feel free to contact us.

How can we help

Should you need any further information or advice with respect to the new Cybercrimes Law and the changes it has brought, please feel free to contact us.

Key Contacts

Ahmed Allouz

Partner, Regional Head of Litigation