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Dubai: If you see an accident in the UAE, do not take your mobile out to post photos of the incident online.  

Police in the UAE are warning motorists that circulating online photos of accidents or emergencies can land a hefty fine and may include jail time, depending on the gravity of the situation.

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A senior official at Abu Dhabi Police said that publishing photos of accidents can lead to confusion among social media users, and advised residents against circulating the photos on social networking sites.

“The internet is full of misinformation, and social media users should check the accuracy of their sources before sharing them with friends,” said Major General Salem Shaheen Al Nuaimi, Director of Command Affairs at the Abu Dhabi Police.

“Residents should also not use social media sites to post traffic violations or circulate rumours,” he said. 

He warned that these acts could have legal implications for individuals, even if they are not aware of the consequences while stressing that there is no excuse for ignorance of the law.

Abu Dhabi Police called for positive interaction with the social networking sites and to benefit from them in enhancing social relations and spreading the original values ​​of society in our society, warning against publishing images of traffic violations or other images of negative behaviors that do not suit the status of our society and its brilliant civilizational achievements.

He also noted that there are authorities responsible for posting news that are based on facts.

Al Nuaimi added that authorities are monitoring social media sites that could harm the general public, while affirming that the Abu Dhabi Police, through its social media platforms, is conducting a series of awareness activities to alert the community about the dangers of the harmful use of social media.

"We are living in a world that is witnessing a deluge of information, and we must be cautious and positively address this issue, and we must not circulate or post any negative or unverified information," he said.

UAE Cybercrime Law

According to the UAE’s Cybercrime Law No 5 of 2012, Article No. 21, it stipulates that a person “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 of these two penalties whoever uses a computer network and/or electronic information system or any information technology means for the invasion of privacy of another person in other than the cases allowed by the law.”

Furthermore, the cybercrime law makes it an offence to use any means of IT to breach someone else’s privacy, including taking pictures of others, or publishing or displaying those pictures.