HH Sheikh Khalifa issues decree on cyber crime
Articles cover wide range of online behaviour
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has issued Federal Legal Decree No 5 for 2012 on combating cyber crimes. The new decree includes amendments to Federal Legal Decree No 2 for 2006 on cyber crimes.
Articles within the decree cover a host of online activity and generated information including legal protections for privacy in regard to information that is published online, whether it be personal or transactional. The decree also formally criminalises forgery of such information and the use of online data for the purposes of coercion or extortion.
Punishments are decreed for any person using ICT means to survey any aspect of another’s private life including the capture of images or audio and the distribution or publishing of such material. There is also mention of using such publishing for the purposes of human trafficking or illegal trade in organs, firearms, ammunition or explosives.
Also outlawed is the electronic publishing of any programmes or ideas likely to promote disorder, hate, racism or sectarianism and damage national unity or social peace or damage public order and pubic decency.
Any site that publishes or promotes gambling, pornography, prostitution or drug trafficking is rendered criminal by the decree as is any site that insults others or accuses others of acts that would lead to punishment or contempt by a third party.
The promotion, solicitation or encouragement of terrorist (and other unlicensed bodies) organisations and associated acts including financing and the making of firearms and explosives is outlawed under the decree.
Derision of the state, its ministers, rulers or institutions by electronic means, is punishable by law. Also mentioned are caricatures and images likely to adversely affect the security of the nation and any sites that call for the overthrow or disruption of the government or any form of civil disobedience, and any person aiding or agreeing with such calls. Included in this category are unlicensed demonstrations.
Using cyberspace for unauthorised trade of antiquities and works of art or to provide unauthorised facilities to others to use communication services or audio and video channels is also criminalised.
Contempt of religion
The decree also stipulates penalties of imprisonment for anyone using electronic sites or any information technology means to display contempt for any holy symbols, characters, figures and rituals of Islam including the Divinity (Allah, God) and the Prophets; for any other faiths or religions or any of their symbols, characters, figures and rituals; or to display contempt for or to insult any of the Divine Religions and to call for the engagement in or the promotion of sins.
Illegal funds and content
The decree addresses money laundering, imposing penalties on any person engaging in any aspect of the activity or any person shielding such perpetrators.
Penalties under Decree 5/2012 range from temporary or permanent closure of offending sites to seizure of hardware and software, imprisonment and (for foreign nationals) deportation.
Courts may also order that convicted individuals be placed under surveillance or civil supervision, and such individuals may be prohibited from using networked computer equipment of any kind or may be forced to stay in a rehabilitation centre.
Mitigation of exemption from prosecution may be obtained if an individual satisfies the prosecutor that they have helped in bringing to justice other perpetrators.