Usage of VPNs in the UAE
These days VPNs are used by everyone either for business or personal purposes. To use or visit websites which are restricted or banned, to hide an individual’s IP address as a privacy protector this VPN became the best option. Business houses are using these VPNs to process data transmission, either for sending or receiving the business-related data as these networks are impossible to be spied on.
When it comes to UAE laws, what the law says about using these networks is a big question among the people. Is it legal to use them? What if it is illegal? On what occasion utilizing these networks is legal? lot of such doubts are arising. Let us see one by one digging deep into the topic.
When it is illegal to use a VPN in UAE?
Using a VPN is not illegal in UAE, but using it for fraudulent and criminal activity is definitely illegal. Because, VPN has the potential to hide the evil or criminal activities of certain groups or individuals, that come out to hurt the safety of a country or community.
In UAE laws regarding information technology and cyber crimes, ‘Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combating Information Technology Crimes’ and ‘Federal Law No. 12 of 2016 revising the Cyber Crimes’ are the two laws which state about the usage of these VPN networks and also these two laws have gone through some changes.
The purpose of utilization and the intention behind it only decides the status, whether the usage comes under legal or illegal activities. So using VPN alone is not illegal. But, misusing it for the purpose of manipulating the Internet protocol with the intention of committing fraud or crime, that can be punished by law. To be considered illegal, there are still requirements like using the IP address of fraud for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing his discovery.
Article 1 of Federal Law No. 12 of 2016 of Cyber Crimes Law stating as follows
“A punishment of temporary imprisonment and a fine of not less than AED 500,000 and not more than AED 2,000,000, or either of these two penalties, shall be imposed on whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address by using a false address or a third-party address or by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery”.
The Cyber Crimes Law as issued in 2012 is stating as follows
“Any person that circumvents the protocol address of the internet by using a delusive address or an address belonging to others or by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery shall be punished by imprisonment and a fine, not less than (AED 150.000) and not exceeding (AED 500.000) or by any of these punishments”.
The recent changes to these laws mainly focused on punishments, i.e. from the previous AED150,000 – AED500,000 range to the new AED500,000 – AED2,000,000 range the fine has increased. The fine will be decided depending on the seriousness of the crime that was committed.
The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has always stated that the misuse of VPN against the TRA policies is an illegal activity, for such activities legal cases will be filed under Law 9 against the VPN users for all illegal activities.
Benefits of VPN:
Employees work remotely: Through VPN, company staff functioning from home can enter organizational networks and connect with internal company resources.
Data protection: free public Wi-Fi hotspot users like metro stations, airports or cafes can expose themselves to hackers. VPN can help protect data in these cases.
E-banking services: to stop hackers’ access bank accounts, some banks block the IP range of nations where financial fraud cases are widely reported.
Top five best VPN service providers in the country:
- NordVPN Best VPN for the UAE. Fast connection, reliable and perfect security credentials, plus 30 days return money guarantees.
- Surfshark VPN that focuses on cheap privacy without limiting the bandwidth or connection.
- ExpressVPN Fast and secure, best choice to access blocked content on the internet, the best security.
- PrivateVPN A good fast and safe server to unblock streaming sites from abroad. There is no log. Good for accessing Netflix.
- VyprVPN Safe solution without logs and additional confusion. But a bit struggled with VPN blocks in UAE.