UAE: Is it legal to use VPNs to download content?

Misusing VPN can attract hefty fine and imprisonment in the UAE

VPN. Image used for illustrative purpose.

VPN. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Although the use of virtual private networks (VPN) is not illegal in the UAE, individuals may ask whether it is legal to use a VPN to access content.

The UAE law states that VPN may only be used by companies and banks for internal purposes.

“It has to be noted that the usage of VPN in the UAE is not illegal if it’s used as per the guidelines of the UAE government and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. The TRA has mentioned in its statement on August 1, 2016 that in the UAE, VPN may be used by the companies, institutions and banks for internal purposes,” said Ashish Mehta, founder and managing partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates.

Article 9 of the UAE Cyber Law states that whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a fine not less than Dh500,00 and not in excess of Dh2 million or either of these two penalties.


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