Dubai laws: Doing this one simple thing on your phone in the UAE could result in jail

Dubai laws are usually based in cultural traditions, steeped in history. This means they often differ greatly from those in the UK, so Britons travelling to the winter sunshine hotspot often need to take extra care. It is advised travellers double check the regulations prior to flying, so they know what to avoid. One common mistake, this being the sharing of photographs to a loved one’s phone, is a particular example.

The action – commonplace in the UK for those wanting to spread their photo collection quickly and instantly – could see Britons imprisoned for six months.

If they manage to escape jail, they will instead be forced to pay a hefty fine, this being up to Dh300,000 or £62,500.

The severity of the penalty is because the action of transferring data or photos could be seen as a breech of privacy.

This also includes eavesdropping or publishing news.

A legal expert told website “While there is no article which explicitly incriminates a person for checking the phone of their spouse, there are several articles within the Federal Law on Combating Cyber Crimes and the Criminal Code which addresses the issue of invasion of privacy.”

He added: “The UAE law on Combating Cyber Crimes states in Article 2: ‘Shall be punished by imprisonment and a fine not less than Dhs100,000 and not in excess of Dhs300,000 or either of these two penalties whoever gains access to a website, an electronic information system, computer network or information technology means without authorisation or in excess of authorisation or unlawfully remains therein.’”

In 2016, a woman in Ajman was accused of breaching her husband’s privacy after transferring photos from his phone to hers using WhatsApp.

She was fined Dhs 150,000 and also deported.

The sentence came about after she used the data to claim he had an affair.

Coincidentally, swearing or using foul Emoji icons in What’sapp messages is also frowned upon and attracts a huge fine.

The UK government has advised Britons to clue up before travelling.

On its official website, it stated: “The UAE is a Muslim country.

“Laws and customs are very different to those in the UK.

“You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times.

“There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK.”


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