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Mon 4 Nov 2013 10:13 AM

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Facebook users risk jail or fine for uploading images - UAE official

UAE law stipulates that infringing someone else’s privacy could be punished by a minimum prison sentence of six months and/or a fine of up to $136,132

Facebook users risk jail or fine for uploading images - UAE official
(Bloomberg)

Facebook users who upload images or videos of people to the social network without their permission face a minimum prison sentence of six months and/or a fine of up to AED500,000 ($136,132), a UAE senior government official has warned.

Lt Col Salah Al Ghoul, head of the bureau for law respect at the Ministry of Interior, reiterated that the law was clear on posting images or videos of people without their consent and it is a crime to someone’s privacy is infringed.

“Article 24 of the cybercrimes law stipulates that anyone who uses an information network to infringe upon someone else’s privacy shall be punished by a minimum prison sentence of six months and/or a fine of between Dh150,000 and Dh500,000,” Lt Col Al Ghoul was quoted as saying by Arabic-language newspaper Al Ittihad.

In July, Dubai police said it was considering changes the law to allow the public to film crimes they believe are taking place.

The move came after the arrest of a 22 year old Indian who filmed an senior UAE official attacking an Indian van driver following a driving incident.

The 22 year old – who then uploaded the video on Youtube – has since been arrested on charges of defamation.

Under UAE law, the Emirati who assaulted the Indian van driver faces up to a year in jail or a maximum of fine of up to AED10,000 for minor assault, while the Indian motorist who filmed and uploaded the video faces a maximum of two years in jail or a fine of up to AED20,000 if convicted of filming without permission or defamation.

Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Acting Chief of Dubai Police told Gulf News that Dubai Police is studying a suggestion which will allow people to send in photos and video clips of those who breaking traffic rules or committing any wrongdoing on main roads that may affect public safety.

However, he added they are not allowed to put the videos on the web to defame others.

“We are working on implementing this suggestions as per the directions of Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police,” said Major General Al Mazeina.

He said this step is in line with Dubai Police’s keenness to cooperate and communicate with the public on all levels.

Major General Al Mazeina said authorised expatriate and Emiratis will be allowed to take such videos and send them to the Dubai Police operation room.

“People will not be allowed to publish such kind of videos or pictures in any means of media other than sending them to the police operation room, which will allow police to take the required action against the offenders,” he said.

Goran 6 years ago

These different punishments seem so very contradictory when considering the crimes they refer to (from the article above):

- Under UAE law, the Emirati who assaulted the Indian van driver faces up to a year in jail...for minor assault,
- while the Indian motorist who filmed and uploaded the video faces a maximum of two years in jail...if convicted of filming without permission or defamation.

And somebody else was sentenced to one month in jail for causing a fatal traffic accident recently, while being drunk.

Do we really evaluate the seriousness of these crimes that differently, coming from different parts of the world?

Ahsan 6 years ago

A very good move to safeguard people from others wrongdoing.

Although its interesting to know that will the police ever know or seek evidence on the consent of the person whos pictures are online?

Dubai has dynamic population from all around the world, western people tend to have more openess to be photo shoot. There are couples who live together and are not married but share almost everything about life.

Things can go wrong sometimes and people may fingerpoint on each other and may misuse this law as a outlet for there grudges. So then how can one materialize an intangible evidence on consent into something which can be measured.

Mick 6 years ago

So what if people are in the background of a photo or video??

Will this be one of the "at the authority's behest" type scenarios?
UAE is becoming a pretty confusing place to live with a new law each day. I don't know the last time we enacted a new law in my home country. Usually, it's just written in stone a hundred years ago and left alone. You can't take a walk down the street any longer without wondering how many peripheral laws you're breaking. Could they be more specific, here? Maybe if the photo or video is deragatory in nature or paints the subject in a negative light etc. If I'm filming or taking a photo of an event and people in the video or photo are just extras and not the purpose of the photo or video?? I know that no expats would really care, I know I don't when I've been captured in a pic or video....it's just far too grey an area. I've taken a photo of friends at a bar and was told to delete it because there were some people in cultural dress having drinks.

shaheen 6 years ago

This seems to be a rather strict and harsh rule.Trying to censor the media or block reality in the UAE is nonsense when internationally people do have access to sensitive stories.

DNS 6 years ago

Oh dear... so all the news crews, journalists and official photographers will have the privilege of visiting and staying in a UAE jail..

Jim Omas 6 years ago

All this because an indian uploaded pic of a local abusing another human being!!
In view of new regulations photo journalism should be banned in this country.

Philip Fairburn 6 years ago

So if this paper prints a picture of someone, you can be fined?

Ali 6 years ago

For All workers who are expats must now that this is not their country.And expats are like slave who don't have any rights except what his master gave. So you want any right make your country sweet country and ENJOY your LIFE

Fritzie Gay Balasuela 6 years ago

I agree with you Mr Ahsan. This issue is about privacy. So if you're not in the position of posting that video then of course you have to pay for your actions.

Captain Canuck 6 years ago

Local man attacks another man. Clearly, the local man was criminal in his conduct while a third man records it (if not, it would have never "really happened")
Moving forward, the man that videotaped the scene gets punished (all parties found guilty - even attack victim - thanks Dubai) and then all are acquitted because, really, whats the harm in beating a subservient from the third world when you are wearing the superior cultural dress?
Now, these people are brought to the world's stage because of video and youtube etc and the authorities have their arms twisted to do something about it or become guilty of inactivity on the subject that everyone has viewed.
What can they do about it, you ask?
Well, they can enact a law dictating that no video of third parties can be filmed so the beatings, acts of disrespect and wrongdoings of the more superior circles (well, here anyway) can continue unabated. End of story.