UK: New Cyber Crimes Legislation

Last Updated: 31 July 2013
Article by Brian Boahene and Oliver Williamson

The UAE has introduced new federal legislation directed towards combating increased cyber criminal activity experienced in the region. This article addresses specific issues which arise out of this new law and what impact those issues might have on the insurance cover available.

New law

In November 2012 UAE Federal Law No 2 of 2012 Concerning Combating Information Technology Crimes (the New Law) came, unexpectedly, into effect. Prior to being published in the official gazette, no draft version of the law had been circulated, suggesting to some a response influenced in part by recent events in the Middle East. The New Law contains a number of amendments to the position previously provided under Federal Law No 2 of 2006 on the Prevention of Information Technology Crimes which the New Law has repealed.

Data protection

Under the New Law, privacy of all information published online has been granted legal protection. This extends to all data, information, credit card numbers and bank account details as well as all online and electronic payment methods. Any attempt to use private information obtained by electronic or online means or to forge or create duplicates of credit cards and civil cards is expressly prohibited.

Additionally, all data, irrespective of whether it is personal or not, is protected from misuse or unauthorised access by means of information technology, which is interpreted to include the use of websites, social networks, computer programs, smart phone applications and tablets. However the New Law does not directly confer rights upon individuals regarding the use of their data. Furthermore, no data protection commissioner is established and reporting obligations for breaches of the New Law to competent authorities have not been imposed. It should be noted, however, that the UAE criminal procedures law requires anyone aware of a crime, which does not require the victim to file a claim in order to be actionable (which may apply to many of the crimes in the New Law), to report that crime to the public prosecutor or to the police.

Whilst the New Law does not, in the first instance, provide individuals with personal rights, it should be noted that the UAE criminal procedures law allows a 'victim' of a crime (including by inference, a breach of the New Law), to pursue their civil rights before the criminal courts where that victim has suffered damage as a result of the crime. Notably, the New Law contains a prohibition on disclosing data relating to a medical examination, potentially an area in which a breach of the New Law could result in a civil claim by a private individual. It also prohibits the breach of an individual's privacy by online means and "publishing statements or information even if they were correct and real".

With respect to data protection issues, regard should also be had to the specific data protection regimes in free zones in the UAE, for instance Dubai Healthcare City and the DIFC. There is also specific legislation directed towards certain industries in the UAE (for instance the telecommunications sector).

Social media

The New Law ensures that use of modern communication tools such as the various forms of social media are now recognised and better regulated. The use of these tools may have a significant impact on the service providers themselves. By way of example, under certain provisions of the New Law, Facebook could be held accountable for content posted to its network by individual subscribers which falls foul of a number of those provisions. Indeed, the New Law provides that an owner or operator of a website that has stored or made available any illegal content must respond to a request from a relevant authority to remove that content, failing which that owner/ operator will be fined and/or imprisoned.

The New Law contains a number of provisions which relate to political dissent, defamation and state security. These provisions may be seen as a response to the recent upheavals in the MENA region, particularly those movements which had their origins in social media. It is often noted that the magnitude of the unrest in the MENA region could not have occurred without the involvement of social media, which spread dissatisfaction and encouraged mass demonstration. This risk has been recognised by the authorities in the UAE and, through the New Law, strict measures have been introduced in an attempt to curb unrest (with origins in social media) from occurring within the UAE.

Security compromise

In the past two years, the Middle East has seen several complex cyber attacks. One of the reported incidents was an attack on Saudi Aramco, the largest oil and gas producer in the world. In August 2012, the company advised that a group of hackers had managed to infect some 30,000 computers associated with the company. Just two weeks after this attack, Qatar's RasGas, a JV between Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil, was targeted by a similar group.

A business which suffers from a cyber attack can be significantly affected by that activity. Whilst a focused cyber attack may not in itself significantly affect the systems of a business or even successfully compromise intellectual property, the repercussions have the potential to be much more significant. A compromised business may be exposed to a considerable period of business interruption or indeed loss of a trusted client base which could seriously affect its ability to perform its business post-attack.

Ramifications for the insurance industry

As the objective of the New Law is to regulate criminal activity committed online, rather than lawful commercial activity, the effect of the New Law on the insurance industry remains to be seen.

It is expected that coverage offered will become more comprehensive, with a focus on increasingly detailed cyber policies being made available to those businesses, offering greater protection than that afforded under traditional general policies.

Of concern to businesses exposed to cyber risks are the penalties which can be imposed by the New Law, with a significant exposure to those who manage and undertake the day to day running of a company. This may present a new challenge for the providers of management liability insurance in the UAE, already billed as a growth line for insurers in the region in the near future.

Whilst the full impact of the New Law is yet to be felt, to keep with the times in an ever changing technological world, insurers and buyers of insurance should carefully evaluate the level of cover afforded for cyber and related exposures and ensure that the cover is specifically tailored to the risks faced by those buyers.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions