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Explaining the ambit of cyber crime

The Federal Law number 5 of 2012, popularly known as the ‘cyber crime’ law, has caused some residents to completely refrain from posting any online material unless it is deemed completely safe, they told Gulf News.

In a bid to give Internet and computer users a clearer idea of what the law entails, Gulf News asked experts to bridge the gap between misconceptions and the reality surrounding the regulation.

In fact, the law’s 51 articles cover a range of topics including the misuse of a computer device, forging financial, legal and medical documents in addition to using the Internet to promote and sell weapons and drugs.

However, when it comes to personal use of social media, individuals must merely remain careful of the pictures they post, particularly if they contain images of others. “Other parties must consent to having their pictures posted online although agreeing to have your picture posted by a friend and then denying that you gave your approval is a matter that can be disproved at court,” said Al Sayed Ebrahim Al Mulghat, an Abu Dhabi-based lawyer specialising in Civil and Criminal Law at Al Riyami Advocates and Legal Consultants.

This rebuts rumours that have been circulating on social media claiming that merely ‘tagging’ people on Facebook can land one in jail, keeping in mind that spreading false information and instigating fear in others using the Internet is punishable by law.

Computers can either be the means, the end, or the environment in which a cyber crime takes place, a legal expert in the capital revealed. Generally speaking, the aim of Federal Law Number 5 of 2012 on combating cyber crimes is to preemptively protect individuals against illegal telecommunication, information and digital activity.