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Be Careful what you publish online

Be Careful what you publish online

29 Jun 2014
Be Careful what you publish online

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PUBLISH ON-LINE

In this increasingly tech-savvy market place, many firms, in seeking to promote their business, allow customers and clients to post comments to their website or social media sites. Caution must be exercised in those circumstances to ensure that any such comments are carefully monitored – you, as the owner of the platform that allows those comments to be published, may be held liable if those comments are against the Law.

Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combating Cyber Crimes, (“the Law”) deals with a variety of issues relating to information published on-line.

Article 24 of the Law says that anyone who “establishes or administer[s] or runs a website or publishes on a computer network or any information technology means which would promote or advocate any programs or ideas which incite civil disturbance, sectarianism, or damage the national unity or social peace or prejudice the public order and public morals” can be imprisoned and fined a fine not less than dhs 500,000 and not in excess of dhs 1 million.

Articles 29 and 30 impose even heavier penalties – life imprisonment, in the case of Article 30 – if information is published on a “computer network or information technology means” that would damage the reputation or prestige of the State or “oppose the basic principles which constitutes the foundations of the ruling system of the State.”

In addition, as an employer, your existing vicarious liability (from the Civil Code) for the acts of your employees can make you responsible for any breaches of the Law by your employees.  To minimise your exposure, you should have a good system or policy in place to ensure that  you are not held accountable for the actions of your employees and your employees don’t breach the Law by accessing or publishing inappropriate material, be that through your social media platform or internal transmission within your organisation.

It is imperative that you not only monitor your website and social media but that you are seen to do so with an effective policy, if you are not to run the risk of falling foul of the Law.

For information on how to do best protect your business, contact Brendan Walsh at brendan@jamesberrylaw.ae

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