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23 internet practices that will get you in trouble in UAE


DUBAI – What you browse or post in the internet could get you in serious trouble in the UAE.

With the UAE’s anti-Cybercrime Law in full force, individuals who use the internet in the wrong way will now face prosecution.

Here are 23 things you should avoid browsing on the internet, according to the  Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in the UAE.

1. Blocked content

There’s a reason why certain content are blocked in the UAE. Do not bypass these prohibited content by using proxy servers and Virtual Private Networks Services (VPNs).

2. Pornography, nudity and vice

Accessing or sharing internet content that promotes pornography, nudity, vice, adultery, prostitution, human trafficking and anything that promotes immoral practices is a no-no.

3. Impersonation, fraud and phishing

It is illegal to publish or promote content that is used for deception, fraud, theft and embezzlement. Witchcraft, voodoo or sorcery are also included in the banned list.

4. Insult, slander and defamation

Don’t ever post or share content that includes materials considered insulting, slanderous or in any way defames another individual or company.

5. Invasion of privacy

Using the internet as a tool for phone tapping, espionage, theft or publication of private information or tracking, recording or intercepting communications or conversation without right will get you in trouble. So does posting news, photos or comments related to someone’s private or family life even if it is true if publishing the same shall harm the concerned person.

6. Disclosing trade, personal secrets

According to the TRA, the “disclosure of a secret that may harm a person’s reputation, wealth or trade name or the publication of something intended to threatening or forcing him to pay money or provide benefit to others or be deprived of freedom to work” is illegal.

This also includes posting or sharing internet content about confidential information of public corporations in the UAE.

7. Posting internet content on medical records

The UAE takes its citizens’ and residents’ rights to privacy very seriously, that is why you shouldn’t post or promote content that reveals people’s medical examinations, medical diagnosis, medical treatment or care or medical records.

8. Offences against the UAE and public order

Hefty fines and jail terms await those who share or publish information, news, statements or rumors for the purpose of ridicule, abuse or harming the reputation, prestige or status of the UAE or any of its establishments, president, rulers of emirates or their crown princes or deputy rulers, the flag of the UAE, the national anthem or the UAE’s symbol, national anthem or its logos.

9. Content calling to overthrow government

It is a crime against national security to promote internet content that calls for overthrowing or changing the regime in the UAE or to urge people to break the law and hold protests that are not sanctioned by authorities.

10. Content about UAE’s economy

It is illegal to promote internet content that would harm the national currency or lead to confusion about the economic condition in the country.

11. Supporting criminal acts and skills

Do not post or promote content that provokes, calls for, promotes or provides information about how to carry out acts of crime or felony or contributes to or facilitates carrying out or supporting the same such as theft, fraud, robbery, forgery, faking, bribery, killing, suicide, blackmail, threat, rape, commercial cheating and breaching the properties of others, abduction, evasion from application of law, money laundry, smuggling prohibited content and other crimes punishable by the law.

12. Drugs

The UAE has an ongoing crackdown on illegal drugs. It is considered a felony to post or share internet content that promotes or contributes to trading or use of illegal drugs.

13. Illegal medical and pharmaceutical practices

It is illegal to post content on the internet that promotes health advertisement, medicine or health products that are not licensed in the UAE.

14. Infringement of intellectual property rights

Piracy is a big no-no in the UAE. It is illegal to publish movies, photos, drawings, books, electronic programs and games, encrypted TV and radio channels and others that belong to other people.

15. Discrimination, racism and contempt of religion

The UAE values tolerance. Don’t ask for trouble by posting or sharing content which contains or promotes offending, defaming, insulting, ridiculing or violating any of the religion, or race. This includes content that would make any form of discrimination and provoke hate speech or inciting tribal prejudices with intent to incite hatred between individuals and groups.

16. Viruses and malicious programs

Those who perpetrate hacking and piracy are subject to strict penalties in the UAE, and it is considered a felony to support or promote the distribution of malicious programs and viruses.

17. Sale of prohibited items and services

This includes promoting sites used for trading or allow advertising or dealing with commodities prohibited in the UAE. What are these prohibited items? List below

Gambling tools and machines
Counterfeit money
Hazardous waste
Prints, paintings, photographs, drawings, cards, books, magazines and stone sculptures, which are contrary to the Islamic religion or public morals, or involving intent of corruption or sedition
Endangered species of animals, birds and plants
Raw ivory
Rhino horn
Chemical and radioactive material
Tobacco and smoking
Fake goods
Radar detection devices
Firearms, ammunitions and explosives
Satellite receivers, which transmit encrypted satellite channels illegally or related services
Relics and artistic masterpieces
Wireless and wired communication devices
Real estate (unless allowed by authorities)
Universities, educational institutes, and nurseries (unless allowed by authorities)

18. Illegal communication services

This category includes internet content that promotes or allows access to illegal communication services according to a regulation or decision by the competent authority.

19. Gambling

This category includes internet content that promotes gambling and similar activities such as bets

20. Terrorism

Promoting or publishing content that supports terrorist groups, terrorism or terrorist ideals can land you in jail.

21. Prohibited Top level Domains

This category includes top-level domains on the internet allocated for purposes that violate the laws of the UAE regardless of website content falling under them. e.g. top-level domains for pornographic material .xxx and others.

22. Promoting donations

It is illegal to publish or promote internet content calling for the collection of donations without license from UAE authorities.

22. Promoting investment portfolios

In the UAE, it is considered an offense to promote internet content that promotes investment portfolios or funds and trading of stocks, currencies and metals without obtaining a license from the competent entities.

23. Other blocked internet content

There are certain internet content blocked in the UAE due to legal cases. Do not attempt to promote these blocked content. GAD/Expat Media


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