Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) on Tuesday published guidelines for taking pictures in public, warning that some practices may seem harmless but could constitute a violation of others’ privacy.
According to the ‘General Guidelines for Taking Photographs’, the Department called on members of society, through its accounts on social networking sites, to adhere to the rules and principles specified by the provisions of the law with regard to photographing individuals, gatherings, or events in public places, including parties and gatherings.
• Knowing the people does not mean they agree to be photographed.
• Respect the privacy of weddings and family celebrations.
• Photographing other people’s property is a reason to lose their trust in you.
• Filming accidents hinders traffic and invades other people’s privacy.
The guidelines are important as people sometimes do not realise that they are capturing someone’s face unintentionally in a photo or video. In the UAE, it is not allowed to take anyone’s picture without their consent, as it is considered as a violation of their privacy. This means there could be legal consequences of taking someone’s picture without their permission. According to Article 378 of the UAE Penal Code (Federal Law No. 3 of 1987), it is not allowed to take pictures without approval.
Even though if someone may have taken someone’s picture unintentionally, they are not allowed to share it on social media without consent. According to Article 43 of the UAE Copyright Law (Federal Law No. 7 of 2002), if somebody has captured a photograph or video of another person, he or she should not publish, distribute or exhibit without permission. As a result of this, the accused person will be liable to pay a fine and can be imprisoned for six months.
Also, regarding places, buildings and tourist attractions, in some cases a prior approval from higher authorities is required before photographing. The authorities must approve the request before the photographs can be taken. In addition to this, taking pictures in public places such as cultural squares, beaches, free zone areas is also restricted.
In sensitive and security sites, it is strictly prohibited to take videos and photographs. It could be because of security reasons for passengers and employees at such workplaces. Also, if someone is taking pictures of advanced devices or machines, they can easily reveal the setup and technology to a third party, leading to legal action. However, if someone wants to take photos of such areas, they must submit the required documents and follow the guidelines after official approval.
ADJD advised people to be respectful of others’ privacy and delete the picture from their phone or camera.