Question: A month ago, my wife and I were swimming in the sea, and a friend told me that someone had posted our photos on social media in our swimsuits. My question: What is the appropriate action to be taken against the person who committed this act, and can he be prosecuted? Can we claim financial and moral compensation? Please advise.
Answer: The new UAE Cyber Law criminalises whoever uses a network with the intention of invading the privacy of another person’s private or family life without consent. You have the right to file a criminal case against the one who did this.
Article 44 (Disclosure of Secrets and Violation of Privacy) of the UAE Federal Law by Decree No. 34 of 2021 (the new law) on Countering Rumours and Cybercrimes, stipulates: (A violator) “shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of no less than 6 months and a fine of not less than Dh150,000 and not more than Dh500,000, or either of these two penalties, (if he/she) uses a computer network, electronic information system, or one of the means of information technology, with the intent of attacking a person’s privacy or the sanctity of the private or family life of individuals without consent.”
These are also punishable by law:
a. - Overhearing, interception, recording, transmission, broadcasting, or disclosure of conversations, communications, or audio or visual materials.
b. - Taking pictures of others in any public or private place, preparing electronic pictures, transferring them, revealing them, copying them, or keeping them.
c. - Publishing news, electronic pictures, photographs, scenes, comments, data or information, even if they are correct and real, with the intent of harming a person.
d. - Taking pictures of the injured, the dead, or the victims of accidents or disasters, and transferring or publishing them without the permission or approval of the concerned parties.
e. - Tracking, monitoring, disclosing, transferring, revealing, copying, or keeping geographical location data for others.
The penalty is imprisonment for a period of no less than a year and a fine of not less than Dh250,000 and not more than Dh500,000, or either of these two, to whoever uses an electronic information system or an information technology means, to make any modification or processing on a recording, image or scene, with the intent to defame or offend another person.
For the second question, you have the right to claim a temporary financial and moral compensation in front of the criminal court but usually the criminal court will transfer this civil part to the civil court to take the decision.
You have also the right to claim such compensation in front of the civil court especially in the event the criminal court finds the accused guilty. The court will estimate the compensation as per the damages occurred.