Using a VPN in the UAE? Here’s What You Need to Know

This news has been circulating over the internet for the past couple of years. We have always believed that the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) in the United Arab Emirates could get the users arrested and pay hefty amounts of fines. However, the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (TRA) has said that there are no restrictions on the legal use of VPN in UAE.

The UAE’s Cybercrime Law was amended, stating that,

whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (IP address) by using a false address or a third-party address by another means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery, shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a fine of no less than Dh 500, 000 and not exceeding Dh 2,000,000, or either of these two penalties.

So what does this amendment mean? Basically, it says that using a VPN in UAE is not prohibited. As long as it is not used for fraudulent activities that breach the law. The only changes are the increase on fines, from Dh 15,000 – Dh 500,000 to Dh 500,000 – 2,000,000. It does not ban the use of VPN, but it restricts the use of a VPN in UAE to commit or conceal a crime.

Why Use a VPN in UAE?

Virtual private networks have gained popularity over the years. It creates a secure connection over a public connection. The internet is extremely useful to the people, but it is also a haven for criminals, hackers, and scammers, which is why using a VPN service is just as important as having an internet connection. Think of a VPN as the added security to your internet connection.

Keep your privacy protected

VPN services work by creating a virtual tunnel between the computer that you are using and the target end network. The tunnel is encrypted so that all of the data exchanged between your computer and the website cannot be read by anyone who tries to intercept and decrypt it. Some of the best VPN services use military-grade encryptions to ensure optimum protection. Other features such as kill-switch and DNS leak tests also provide added security.

Hide your IP address

If you want to be anonymous, a VPN will also become a useful tool for you. It hides your real IP address and your location by assigning you its own IP address and a server in a totally different country. It makes you appear as if you are accessing the internet from another country, and if they try to trace your IP address, they will be routed to the VPN service’s IP.

Connect to a network remotely

Originally used by corporate companies and businesses, VPN services have now become commercially available. Still, VPN services are being used for company operations because virtual private networks connect multiple computers to share resources with each other, even in remote distances. Employees can still work from home or in other places and access the company’s resources through their virtual private network. Without VPNs, business and financial transactions will not be secure anymore.

Using VPN in UAE Legal or Illegal?

To clarify whether using VPN in UAE is crime, here’s how it works. The UAE does not restrict the use of VPNs especially if it is for business purposes and the benefit of the economy. However, users who will be penalized or punished if they are caught and are proven to commit crimes using virtual private networks.

According to Kelly Blyth, senior associate at Clyde & Co., to Gulf News,

Business users can be held accountable, like the use of any other technology if it has been misused. any misuse of the licensed and organized services in the UAE will lead to legal accountability. It is worth mentioning that the laws are targeting those who misuse the services and not those activities that are consistent with UAE’s laws.

So what constitutes a punishable crime? If users make these offenses through the use of virtual private network, they could be penalized and fined:

  • Accessing and using gambling sites and services
  • Accessing, watching, and downloading obscene media without a license for use in the UAE

Cleofe Maceda also reports on Gulf News that IT experts also advise people to use virtual private networks carefully. You might breach international laws even if you are not violating the UAE VPN law. The security and freedom given by virtual private networks also need to be exercised carefully so as not to avoid unintentionally making violations of the law in the attempt to follow one.

According to a French expatriate working in the IT industry,

Some sites that can’t be accessed here aren’t necessarily blocked by the government. The French TV channel, for example, is prohibited from broadcasting in this market by France. So effectively, when you access the channel using a VPN, you’re breaching the French law, not the UAE’s.

Should you use a VPN in UAE?

No matter where you are in the world, your privacy should be a main concern. We should all be given the freedom to protect our identities and personal activities. Using a virtual private network is a good way to do this. It protects you from hackers, scammers, and other cybercriminals that are lurking the internet. It lets you work and share resources even when you are in a remote area. Lastly, it allows you to make transactions safely and securely.

On the other hand, virtual private networks can still be used for fraudulent activities, both big and small. Anyone who is not vigilant will fall prey into this. What’s worse is that a VPN will make it difficult to track the criminals. Which is why certain measures must be taken to make sure that technologies such as the VPN are used only for legal activities.

If you want to know which VPN services are the best ones to use in the UAE, check out some of our VPN reviews here. We also offer discounts and deals just for our readers. If you like this article and found it helpful, don’t forget to comment and share on Facebook and Twitter.

Wade

Some say I’m the personification of the internet - not sure if it’s a compliment though. I love to bury myself in the depths of the online world. And I have many years of experience in internet marketing. Tracking every single development, following the latest tech news is a true passion. But my favorite part is focusing on Internet security and how Internet users can best protect themselves and their data.

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