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Individuals can access VPNs in the UAE with caution

Individuals can access VPNs in the UAE with caution

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Dubai: Access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) by an individual in the UAE is legal; Subject to some terms and conditions.

We answer your questions regarding the recent Skype blocking and VPN alternatives for making calls.


What is a VPN?

A VPN is like a secret tunnel that can be accessed by logging in through a US or UK server instead of a UAE server to open blocked websites, at the same time protecting user privacy. All incoming and outgoing data passing through this tunnel cannot be spied or stolen.


How it works?

Now premium apps on smartphones, tablets, and computers look at an IP (Internet Protocol) address to identify a computer or device on a network to find out a user’s location.

However, consumers have found a way to unblock apps using proxy or VPNs that mask users’ identity and geolocation by replacing your real IP address with the new one, so the content appears to come from another IP address located elsewhere. This is illegal according to the internet laws of the UAE.


What is VPN use mainly for?

The VPN started gaining momentum when broadband came into the picture and people started streaming content. There are many VPN services available for free download as well as for a monthly fee.


Using a VPN in the United Arab Emirates

In the UAE, VPN services are used by some individuals to access VoIP services, access some blocked websites, and watch geo-restricted services like Hulu and/or Spotify.

Users with a US or European subscription can watch any of the streaming services in the UAE using a VPN.


VPN for voice and video calls?

Now that Skype is blocked, using a VPN to call home is a necessity and there are some legal ways to do it.

Du and Etisalat have VPN packages that allow users to use their mobile data and/or service provider Wi-Fi to connect and make video/voice calls internationally as long as the required apps are available on both ends.

These packages start at 50 dirhams per month and can be a legal answer to your call issues.


What is the opinion of the law?

Ordinary individuals should only use legal VPN services or risk facing fines in the millions of dirhams.

The UAE Cybercrime Law No. 5 of 2012, which was promulgated by the President of the State, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2012, includes severe penalties that can reach life imprisonment and/or a fine of between 50,000 dirhams and 3 million dirhams. AED, depending on the severity and severity of cybercrime.

While the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has always emphasized that illegal use of a VPN goes against its policies, the police have also warned of the possibility of legal action under Law No. 9 against VPN users for any illegal activities.


Advantages of using a VPN

1. Employees working remotely: Through the VPN, company employees who work from home can log into the organizational network and connect to the company’s internal resources

2. Data protection: Users of free public Wi-Fi hotspots such as metro stations, airports or coffee shops can expose themselves to hackers. VPNs can help protect data in such cases.

3. Electronic banking: To prevent hackers from accessing bank accounts, some banks block IP ranges for countries where financial fraud has been widely reported.


Cons of using a VPN

VPNs can hide the malicious or criminal activities of some groups or individuals who are out to harm the integrity of a country or a community.

With inputs from Naushad K. Cheryl, Staff Reporter


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