Dubai: Videos and pictures uploaded on social media that show anyone breaking the law is an illegal act even if the content of the video is used as evidence to prove the crime, a Dubai lawyer said on Wednesday.
Days after a viral video showed a motorist illegally parking in a space reserved for people with disabilities, Barney Almazar, a director at legal firm Gulf Law, has said residents should keep in mind the legal implications of sharing images and photos without prior consent.
“Under both the UAE Penal Code and the cybercrime Law, the privacy of every person is highly protected here. Privacy is a prime concern, and for a person to share the video without the consent of the people shown in the video is an illegal intrusion into their privacy rights,” said Almazar.
He said there’s a common misconception that if people can prove that what they are posting is correct, then they are safe from violating any law. “The law is very clear. Even in the case of posting something that proves something to be correct, you can still be held liable.”
Almazar urged residents to think twice before posting or reacting to risky content on social media. Care needs to be taken when posting pictures and videos involving others online, including via social media.
As per the cybercrime law, whoever uses a computer network and/or electronic information system (social media) for the invasion of privacy of another person in other than the cases allowed by the law and by recording of audio or video conversation or communication, photographing others or copying the same photographs and publishing news, statements or information, even if it’s true, he/she shall be punished by imprisonment of a period of at least six months and a fine not less than Dh150,000 and not exceeding Dh500,000, or either one of these two penalties, he confirmed.
It is natural instinct for people to take pictures or video when they see something strange or interesting and post it on social media, he added.
“Residents should be very responsible, especially since sharing on social media has become part of everybody’s life. They must be always mindful of what they are posting and try not to forget the laws.”
According to Almazar, resharing or liking a video shared on social media that breaches someone’s right is not punishable by law.
“Since they are not the source, they would not be liable. However, if comments were left defaming or confirming the video’s content or leaving hate comments on a hate post, they are violating not only the cyber law but also the penal code as they are destroying someone’s reputation online.”
Other similar violations include tagging a person in a video, with an intention of indicating that they are involved in the video.
Dubai Police efforts have proved that they are strong enough to reach those who commit cybercrimes and have built a very strong division called the Anti-Cybercrime department to fight such crimes.