New UAE cybercrime law: Up to Dh500,000 fine for taking photos of people without consent

Law that came into effect on January 2 also protects the privacy of accident victims


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Wed 5 Jan 2022, 1:44 PM

The new UAE cybercrime law has amended the penalty for taking pictures of accident victims and circulating them online.

The law, which came into effect on January 2, 2022, punishes people for taking pictures of others without permission.

According to the amended UAE Cybercrime Law, both crimes are punishable with a six-month jail term or a fine between Dh150,000 to 500,000 or both.


The new federal law No 34 of 2021 made significant changes to federal law 5 of 2012, which governs cybercrime and covers online offences.

The law intends to improve community protection against online crimes perpetrated via social media networks and information technology platforms and secure government websites and databases, and prevent the spread of rumours and false or misleading information.

Article 44 of the law explicitly criminalises photographing victims of accidents or disasters, whether dead or injured and publishing or spreading their photos taken in any place, whether public or private through electronic means or by any computer means, intending to attack the privacy of a person or the sanctity of the private or family life of individuals without their consent and in cases other than those authorised by the law.


According to the law, taking of photos of others in any public or private place, circulating them, copying or storing the images electronically, in addition to the publication of news, photographs, scenes, comments, data or information, even if they are true, with the intention of harming the person the pictures is a crime punishable under the law amendment.

The article contained in the law under the title “Disclosure of secrets and invasion of privacy”, provides that anyone who uses an electronic information system to invade the privacy of others will be punished with imprisonment of at least one year and a fine of at least Dh250,000 and not more than Dh500,000 or both of these two penalties.

A criminal lawyer in Abu Dhabi, Ali Abed said besides reducing online crimes, the amendment to the cybercrime law would help provide more protection to the people of the UAE during this digital era.

“The law will offer greater protection to citizens and residents of the UAE from cybercriminals,” he said.

“There have been many cases of people invading the privacy of others through social media. I believe with these tough punishments, it will make people cautious while taking people’s pictures and spreading them online without their consent.”

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Wed 5 Jan 2022, 1:44 PM

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