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UAE govt email ban effective from November

Regulator silent on reach of security-minded directives

UAE govt email ban effective from November
The rules cover the security surrounding digital communication in UAE government workplaces.

UAE government employees have been given until November to comply with a new regulation that prohibits the sending and receiving of private emails at work, but the nation's telecoms regulator has not confirmed how widely the ban will stretch, Arabian Business reported today.

The new rules were announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and specifically refer to religious and political communication and messages relating to charitable causes, but include all email communications.

Under the regulations, public sector employees are also barred from opening unsolicited email, spam or messages that contain viruses. The rules cover not only government email systems but private Web mail, such as Hotmail, Yahoo! and Gmail, that may be used by government workers.

Personnel are also forbidden to alter metadata relating to an email, such as the date, time or source of destination.

The new regulations, published in the government's Official Gazette, also cover working practices in regard to the Internet and the use of private mobile devices used to access work emails, requiring users to ensure the devices need a password for unlocking.

The UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which is currently circulating the directives to federal bodies, would not comment on whether they would apply to government-owned companies, such as Nakheel and Jumeirah Group, and agencies and companies contracted by the government.

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