The UAE imposes up to 500,000 dirhams fine and imprisonment for privacy breaches

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has issued a stern warning about the severe penalties associated with revealing secrets and violating privacy.

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Abu Dhabi Judicial Department Issues Warning on Privacy Violations

Highlighting the legal implications, it emphasizes that five specific violations can lead to penalties under the Anti-Rumor and Cybercrime Law. Perpetrators could face imprisonment and fines of up to 500,000 dirhams. In response, the Abu Dhabi Center for Legal and Community Awareness has launched a campaign, "Responsibility," to enhance societal understanding of privacy violations and their detrimental impact on individuals and society.

Key Legal Framework

The legal framework is outlined in Article 44 of Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021, which stipulates a minimum six-month sentence in jail and a fine that can range from 150,000 to 500,000 dirhams. This punishment is imposed on those who violate people's privacy or the sanctity of their private or family lives without their agreement by using information networks or electronic means.

Five Legal Violations Leading to Penalties

Penalties may be imposed for recording, transmitting, or publishing audio-visual materials or private conversations without permission. In addition, there are legal infractions for taking, disclosing, or keeping images of other people with the intention of causing harm, publishing accurate information with the same intention, taking and publishing pictures of dead or injured people without their consent, and breaking tracking or monitoring laws pertaining to geographic locations.

Enhanced Penalties for Modification or Manipulation

If recordings, photos, or situations are altered or manipulated with the aim of causing abuse or slander, the penalty becomes more severe. In these situations, the punishment is enhanced to a minimum one-year sentence in jail and a fine of between 250,000 and 500,000 dirhams.

Abu Dhabi Center's Awareness Campaign

The Director of the Abu Dhabi Center for Legal and Community Awareness, Dr. Muhammad Rashid Al-Dhanhani, underscores the importance of spreading legal awareness regarding privacy violations. The awareness campaign, titled "Respect for privacy: a right and a duty," aims to educate the public about the nature of privacy violations, their social impact, and the legal consequences. The initiative seeks to raise awareness among social media users about sharing personal information responsibly.

Cases Monitored and Legal Consequences

The article notes instances where penalties for privacy violations were applied, such as an Arab woman convicted by the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court for inciting public opinion and assaulting privacy using the information network. The court imposed imprisonment, fines, erasure of photos, device confiscation, and account closure. This case exemplifies the judicial commitment to enforcing privacy protection and deterring potential violators.

Preventive Protection Through Legal Awareness

Dr. Muhammad Rashid Al-Dhanhani emphasizes that spreading legal culture and awareness regarding privacy violations provides preventive protection for individuals and society. The campaign seeks to equip social media users with knowledge about privacy rights, responsible information sharing, and the legal consequences associated with privacy breaches.

As technology advances, understanding and respecting privacy rights becomes increasingly crucial to maintaining a secure and ethical digital environment. The legal framework and awareness campaigns play pivotal roles in shaping a responsible and law-abiding online community.

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