If you travel a lot or you have relatives outside UAE, there is a chance that you are subscribed to or your family uses such websites and applications that you can’t access without VPN (Virtual Private Network). For those who are unaware, in simple words, VPN is basically referred to an application or website that helps you mask your current IP and lets you browse the internet using other countries IP address so you can access websites and applications that are blocked on your default IP (in this case UAE).

Ofcourse these blockages are their by the ruling authorities and they don’t like the use of VPN but they rarely take any action about it. I am not aware if this will be enforced or not but the UAE has just enacted one of the strictest law I have seen on VPN use. As per the news posted on International Business Times:

The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has issued a series of new federal laws relating to IT crimes, including a regulation that forbids anyone in the UAE from making use of virtual private networks (VPN) to secure their web traffic from prying eyes.

The new law states that anyone who uses a VPN or proxy server can be imprisoned and fined between Dh500,000-Dh2,000,000 ($136,000-$545,000, £415,000, €495,000) if they are found to use VPNs fraudulently.

Previously, the law was restricted to prosecuting people who used VPNs as part of an internet crime, but UK-based VPN and privacy advocate Private Internet Access says that the law has now changed to enable police in the UAE to go after anyone who uses VPNs to access blocked services, which is considered to be fraudulent use of an IP address.

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Interestingly it seems like this is being done as a way of helping to preserve the duopoly for VoIP services in the UAE, to prevent people from using VPNs to get cheaper international calling rates:

Etisalat and du are the only two companies in the world that have been granted licences by the UAE government to offer commercial VoIP services, which can be expensive, and rather than enable citizens and residents to have choice about what services they want to use, the government is assisting UAE’s telecom providers in upholding a monopoly on voice calls made in the country.

Does this new law change whether or not you’d consider using a VPN in the UAE?