Ryan Thomas Namia
DUBAI – DUBAI – The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi has reminded the Filipino community of taking of photos and videos in restricted areas, including consular missions and military facilities in the UAE as it is prohibited in view of security concerns.
“It is also prohibited to take pictures or videos of police or security forces ‘in action’ or while performing their duties.
“Furthermore, taking photos or videos of people and posting these online without their permission is punishable by law, which may lead to fines and arrest by local authorities,” the release on Tuesday, September 12, read.
According to UAE law, posting pictures of others on social media networks without their permission could be jailed for six months and fined up to AED 500,000 under the UAE’s IT law.
According to Atty. Barney Almazar, Gulf Law director, taking photos in restricted areas can result in one to three months in jail or fine of up to AED 5,000.
“However, arrests are not very common, unless you continue to take photos despite prohibition,” the Kabayan Weekly columnist.
In most public places here in the country, signs such as “taking photo is prohibited” are posted.
The rule generally applied to military areas, courts, government buildings and palaces.
According to Almazar, the statement from the Philippine embassy talks two things: based on the security of the state as it relates restricted areas, and cybercrime law.
“[The first one] is to prevent leakage of sensitive information. However, pictures taken with consent within the premises of our Embassy and Consulate should not be considered a violation of the rule,” he explained.
The second law, cybercrime, applies to any area, restricted or not, as the main concern here is the violation of right to privacy of an individual.
Based on the Article 21 of Cybercrime law, a punishment of imprisonment for a period of at least six months and a fine of not less than AED 150,000 and not in excess of AED 500,000or either of these two penalties shall be imposed to whoever uses a computer network or and electronic information system or any information technology means for the invasion of privacy or another person.
The hefty fines are also applicable to eavesdropping, interception, recording, transferring, transmitting or disclosure of conversations or communications, or audio, or visual materials.
The rule also applies to photographing others or creating, transferring, disclosing, copying or saving electronic photos.
Publishing news, electronic photos or photographs, scenes, comments, statements, or information even if true and correct are also applied here.
“Shall also be punished by imprisonment for a period of at least one year and a fine of not less than AED 250,000 and not in excess of AED 500,000 or either of these two penalties whoever uses an electronic information technology means for amending or processing a record, photo or scene for the purpose of defamation of or offending another person or for attacking or invading his privacy,” it added.
The Filipino lawyer also stated that it all boils down to respecting the law, culture and custom of the host country.
“Asking permission before taking a photo will keep you away from trouble,” he concluded.