UAE Laws

Be wary of UAE’s photography laws

The 2012 law says that breaching someone’s privacy by copying, saving or publishing their photo or personal data using is an offence.

Photographing someone’s privacy?

Don’t shoot citizens or expatriates (especially women) without their consent even if they appear behind you in your selfies or your pictures (except if the image is from the public event). Don’t photograph someone’s properties, their homes or cars unless you have their permission. Otherwise, you run a legal risk in the UAE.

UAE Penal Code on Photography

Meetup.com writes that, Article 378 of the UAE Penal Code (Federal Law 3 of 1987) makes it clear that taking a person’s picture without their consent or in legally permitted circumstances shall be an invasion of that person’s privacy or family life. Not only will the camera or device be confiscated and the recordings destroyed, but the photographer or videographer may have to pay the penalty and may be imprisoned. The same punishment is also applicable to anyone who publishes such pictures.”

Photographing Restricted Areas in UAE

Don’t photograph government buildings, military facilities, ports or airports, police stations, Sheikhs’ places or certain bridges. People taking photographs should be aware of restricted areas. In public areas, if there is a sign that prohibited photography, you should be aware of it.

Expats could be deported for saving someone’s photo

TheNational.ae: “The 2012 law says that breaching someone’s privacy by copying, saving or publishing their photo or personal data using an electronic device is an offence punishable by at least six months in prison and/or a fine of up to Dh500,000, even if the photo is from a public place.

Article 21 of the Federal Decree No 5/2012 on combating cyber crimes
One is punished by a jail sentence of no less than six months and a fine that is of no less than Dh 150,000 and not more than Dh 500,000 or by either of those two punishments whoever uses an information network or automated information system or one of the information technology methods to attack the privacy of a person in the unwarranted circumstances legally by one of the following methods:

1. Eavesdropping, intercepting, recording or disclosing conversations, communications, audio and video material.

2. Taking photographs of others, creating electronic photos of others, disclosing, copying or saving them.

3. Publishing news, electronic photographs or pictures or scenes, comments, data, and information even if they are authentic.

Is it also punishable by a jail sentence of no less than one year in and a fine of no less than Dh 250,000 and no more than Dh 500,000 or by one of those two punishments, whoever uses an automated information system or one of the information technology methods to conduct an amendment or an edit to a recording or picture or scene, with the intention to defame or offend another person, or to breach their privacy.” (TheNational.ae)

Permitted Pictures in UAE

The photography is permitted if:
The photo is from a public event;
The photo is of public figures, celebrities or official personalities.
Permitted photographs by the authorities in the public interest.

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Arif Mohammad

I'm a Blogger, a Webmaster, a Professional Nutritionist (Certified). Previously in Shenzhen, Hong Kong & Abu Dhabi, I am an Indian national residing abroad.

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