TRA reacts to VPN rumours
TRA states regulations that facilitate access for companies and banks to use Virtual Private Networks
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has responded to recent reports regarding the illegal use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) in the UAE.
The statement said: "There are no legislations in the country that obstruct the economic movement or the work of local or international companies based in the UAE."
The TRA highlighted that there are no regulations which prevent the use of VPN technology by companies, institutions and banks to access their internal networks through the Internet. However, business users can be held accountable, like the use of any other technology, if it has been misused.
Referring to a recently issued amendment on the Federal Law No. (5) of 2012, the TRA noted that the law is not new in its essence and that the only changes were related to tightening the penalty or punishment for any violation.
The original law stated that anyone using a VPN or proxy server in the region would be fined between AED150,000 and AED500,000, however now the law states such an offence could lead to imprisonment and/or fines between AED500,000 and AED2m.
The TRA further urged to read the actual violation mentioned in the law; which stated: "using a false IP address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery", in order to understand the law correctly and where the punishment is exclusively linked to the mentioned fraudulent act and the intent to commit a crime or prevent its discovery.
H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, director general of TRA, said: "The leadership of the UAE in the field of Internet applications and IT in general, is on the contrary to what has been circulated by some media regarding the use of VPNs. It is known that the UAE is keen to embody the directions of the UAE Government's wise leadership regarding smart transformation, including the smart government, smart cities, Big Data, and IoT, in addition to promoting investment, competitiveness and focus on building a knowledge-based economy and society."
The TRA further emphasised that any misuse of the licensed and organised services in the UAE will lead to legal accountability. It is worth mentioning that the laws are targeting those who misuse the services and not those activities that are consistent with UAE's laws.
All in all, the statement concludes that a VPN can only be used by companies, institutions and banks, as long as their activity abides by the country's laws.