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New Cybercrime Law to be enforced in the UAE

New Cybercrime Law to be enforced in the UAE

The UAE has been taking significant and proactive steps to combat the region's high rate of cyber-attacks. Adopting more comprehensive and simplified laws and regulations with stiffer punishments is the strategy to combat cybercrime in the area. The new Decree by Federal Law No. 34 of 2021 ("Cybercrimes Law") repeals the existing related legislation, specifically the Decree by Federal Law No. 5 of 2012. The law intends to improve community protection against online crimes perpetrated via networks and information technology platforms, as well as to secure public sector websites and databases and to combat the spread of rumors and misleading or fake news.

Cybercrime typically entails using a computer as a tool to promote illicit purposes, such as fraud, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property, identity theft, privacy issues, and so on. It involves distributing viruses, illegally downloading files, phishing and stealing personal information like bank account details. 

Some features of the new law are as follows:

  • Compared to the previous legislation, the Cybercrimes Law is comprehensive and more elaborative. This is inferred through restructuring as well as adding provisions. 
  • Whoever creates an email, website, or electronic account and falsely assigns it to another is subject to an imprisonment sentence and/or a fine ranging from AED 50,000 to AED 200,000 under Article 11 of the Cybercrimes Law. If the email, website, or electronic account were used to hurt the victim, the penalty would be two years in prison.
  • Aggravated penalties for cybercrimes in the banking, medical, media and scientific institutions. 
  • According to Article 5 of the Cybercrimes law, anybody who willfully destroys suspends, or shuts a government entity's website or critical institution faces imprisonment and fines ranging from Dh500,000 to Dh3 million.

This law will take effect on January 2, 2022, making it more difficult for criminals to penetrate data systems in the banking, media, health, and research sectors. The UAE's amended cybercrime law will give citizens and residents additional security in an increasingly digital world.