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UAE: An important legal amendment to photography in public places
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Talking about the legality of photography in public places has been a subject of legal controversy for a long time, because of the embarrassment or violation of the privacy of people

Talking about the legality of photography in public places has been a subject of legal controversy for a long time, because of the embarrassment or violation of the privacy of people who were fortunate to appear by chance in a photo taken by someone in a public place, or whose photos were stolen without their knowledge by curious intruders, who do not take into account Inviolability or privacy of others!

And how many lawsuits have been filed because of the harm caused by this behavior, as their owners have seen that no one, whoever he is, has the right to photograph them against their will, and the outcome of these lawsuits has always been to the innocence of the photo-taker, in accordance with the text of Article 378 of the Penal Code and Article 21 of the Anti-Crime Law Information Technology No. 5 of 2012, which does not criminalize photography in public places, based on the fact that the image takes the judgment of the person himself in terms of affecting his private life, as it is an extension of him, and refers to his personality.

And that the protection added by the law, in accordance with the text of the two articles referred to, limits the protection of a person’s privacy from photographing if he is in a private place, but if this capacity is denied, and the photograph was taken in a public place, legal protection does not extend to it, and there is no crime.

But the situation is completely different now, and the UAE legislator has ended the controversy in this regard in the new law on information technology crimes, as Article (44) of Federal Decree-Law No. (34) of 2021 regarding combating rumors and cybercrime stipulates the punishment of anyone who takes photos of others in Any public or private place with the intention of attacking the privacy of a person, or the sanctity of private or family life of individuals without their consent, by imprisonment for a period of no less than six months, and a fine of no less than 150,000 dirhams and not more than 500,000 dirhams, or any of the These two penalties.

Accordingly, it can be said that according to this text, and as of the date it came into effect on January 2, 2022, photography in public places has become a violation of the sanctity of private life protected by the Constitution and the law, if its purpose is to follow a person or photograph him surreptitiously, whatever the motives of the photographer .

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