Is Using VPN Legal In UAE? In order to add privacy to online services, VPN is a tool that can be very much useful to use. Many countries around the world have been legally using VPN to provide protection for online activities.
In fact, using PVN enables the users not only to provide safety for online acts but also for accessing more content. In general, using VPN makes you able to access geo-restricted foreign services, blocked news content and other restricted services which are unavailable in the UAE. However, you could break the law depending on what you want to unblock with your VPN.
Recently, people are wondering about the legality to use VPN in the UAE. So, what is the clear legal status of VPN usage in the UAE, and is it legal to install VPN on your device? Let’s check out the answer to this article and get a clear understanding of the legality of VPN use in the UAE.
Is Using VPN Legal In UAE?
There are many legitimate uses of VPN. VPN is usually used in businesses around the world to provide employees with access to work servers remotely. Therefore, it is almost impossible to ban the use of VPN technology.
Like in another region in the world, UAE also allows the citizens to use VPN for useful purposes. However, there several things that may cause you a problem because using VPN through the use of VPN itself is not an offense.
is using VPN legal in UAE? It is definitely free to subscribe to a VPN and it is allowed to install VPN app on your device. By installing VPN app on your devices, you will be able to access geo-restricted content such as Netflix US. Note, doing this doesn’t mean to put you in trouble.
In relation to the use of VPN, if you are using it for anything other than committing a crime or violence, it means you don’t break the law.
Unfortunately, even websites that use VPN are now blocked by ISPs in the UAE. This will make the users difficult to get VPN subscription and VPN software. Further, though you may manage well to get the subscription, certain VPNs do not work, except you are an Etisalat subscriber.
On the contrary, no one would be arrested or fined from using VPN to legally access the permissible services and content. Goodness, people agree to use VPNs for the purpose of arresting terrorists, blackmailers, individuals who sell bulk VoIP access and citizens who are seriously committing crimes. In short, you are just safe to use VPN as along as for good things.
How Can You Get Problems with The Law Due To Using VPN?
As we have mentioned, using VPN can break the law if the use is related with a crime. In UAE (United Arab Emirates), blocks are implemented by the government on all websites that are accessible for content that is incompatible with not only laws but also morals and customs.
When you are trying to access a restricted website in the UAE, Etisalat customers will receive the notice; “This site is blocked … The site falls under the Prohibited Content Categories of the UAE’s Internet Access Management Policy.”
The above message is sent anytime when someone tries to access the pornographic websites. Of course, this is subject to religious reasons. Other blocks include dating, gambling, and other culturally or religiously offensive content. Anyway, Qatar and Israel websites are also restricted.
Many people still mistakenly think that the restrictions are forced by ISPs like Etisalat and Du which are much controlled by the government. In fact, all censorships are determined by the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) that provides the customers with the guidelines to ISPs regarding what to look for and look at.
Due to the fact that UAE has a state-owned telecommunications firms, you will be able to make free calls since the government enforces blocks on VoIP services. Thus, you will not have a problem to make a call anymore.
What are other problems that you may face by using VPN?
Though you can bypass the restriction set by TRA illegally, using VPN can arise a suspicion. This is because accessing any content and services with VPN is restricted by the TRA and it is breaking the law. That’s why bypassing the restrictions will get you in trouble. In this case, the trouble is using VPN is suspicious if you are not using it to access particular content.
Further, using VPN for something innocent can cause you a problem, too. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that people use VPN with strong security and privacy features so that you will be allowed to subscribe the content without being known by ISP.
Punishment For Using VPN To Unblock Content in The UAE
Is using VPN legal in UAE? Though it is clear that using VPN in the UAE is legal, you can receive punishment if you are using VPN to unblock gambling, dating, adult sites, and other TRA-Restricted content. It is clear that using VPN for this purpose is technically breaking the law. That’s why you can be in trouble.
UAE authorities watch out for people who use the internet and VPNs to access pornography and immoral content. If they find you doing so, you can be said to jail for at least six months. Alternatively, if you have options other than being sent to jail, you will be fined of between 1 million dirhams.
If you are committing a crime through the internet using VPN, the fine will be 2,000,000 AED or you may be taken into a prison. Even when people who just accidentally stumble on improper content could be in trouble, too. To prevent this trouble, Google Safe Search is enabled by the default setting for all web searches in the UAE.
Other way to reduce the chance of being in trouble is encrypting the traffic so that your ISP will not be able to track your online activities anymore. However, you must remember that using a VPN for 24 hours per day indicates that you are obviously using VPN. Therefore, it would be sensible to create some regular VPN traffic each day in order that your IP address will appear like any other usual UAE home.
Is It Legal or Illegal to Use VPN to Unblock VoIP Apps?
Note, it is illegal to use VPN to unblock VoIP Apps because the government takes a control over the local telecoms infrastructure in the UAE. Therefore, VoIP programs like Whatsapp, Facebook, Skype, FaceTime and Messenger are restricted.
Simply put, if you are unblocking restricted services, you are at risk of being fined or jailed. However, during the pandemic of COVID-19, the government of the UAE eases VoIP restrictions to allow people to work from home especially during the lockdown. This way, the use of Microsoft’s Skype for businesses and Google Hangouts have no restrictions since the government has lift them.
Zoom, other example, is being used by all teachers in the world to carry out remote class during the lockdown. It has been available but is still questionable whether this allowance will be revoke or not if the lockdown period is over.
One thing to remember is that you must use VPN with the strong security and features such as a kill switch DNS leak protection and obfuscated servers. This is aimed to prevent any trouble dealing with the use of VPN.
Is using VPN legal in UAE? The answer is definitely yes. However, if you are using VPN for committing crime, accessing immoral websites and any other inappropriate content which is restricted, you are at risk. You can be fined or sent to jail at least for six months.
As long as you use VPN for useful purposes, there will be no trouble taking you in in the UAE.