The internet has eliminated distances between people in the world and allowed them to share a diversity of content. However, the difference in public morality from one region to another has become a concern, as content that is acceptable in a region might be considered morally unacceptable in others. An example of such content is Nudity and Pornography easily available in the internet. As it is the case with Pornography, Nudity is not acceptable morally in UAE.

Moreover, the age ratings that are adopted and filtered out internationally in most cases is still considered morally inappropriate in UAE. It has been a public demand to prevent access to such content in UAE as children exposure to such content is intolerable. As a result a list of prohibited content categories has been defined and the Internet Service providers in UAE are obliged to block access to websites and webpages that contains content that fall under these Prohibited Content Categories. Websites that are providing their service and targeting users in UAE are advised to respect the public morality in the country, as further detailed in the prohibited content categories, to avoid denial of access to their content and services.

Guidelines to Website owners and internet services

Website owners serving the region and the UAE should be aware of the difference in public morality compared to other regions. For example, the age classification of the content may differ from a region to another; a content that is classified as 18+ in a region might be considered unacceptable in others. Accordingly, it is highly recommended to comply with the laws and regulations of website contents in different regions.

As a website owner, developer or operator/administrator, the guidelines below shall assist to ensure that the website complies with the internet access guidelines in UAE, to avoid blockage of their service:

  • Ensure that the content of your website does not fall under any of the Prohibited content categories.
  • Ensure that your of your website does not violate any laws and regulations applicable in UAE.
  • Ensure that your website has an efficient mechanism for users to reach the administration when required.
  • Ensure that you have a clear privacy policy stating what information will be collected, why and how the information will be used.
  • Ensure that collection and processing of sensitive user data is done in secure manner (e.g. by use of SSL/encryption technologies to prevent illegal collection of usernames, credit card information and banking information).
  • Ensure that website servers and systems are secure by hosting with reputable service providers, installing anti-virus and anti-malware software, perform security auditing, following best practices in term of administration and operations.

Special notes to websites with User-Generated content:

  • Specify and publish abuse policy and content guidelines.
  • Allow visitors to flag /report abuse via selection menu or simple web form.

Special Notes to websites that allow placement of 3rd party or partners Advertisements /Classifieds/ Deals

  • Ensure that all advertisements comply with the relevant laws and regulations such as Medical advertisement.
  • Monitor and prevent abuse and illegal activities such as prostitution, selling of illegal goods/services like unlicensed voice service, prescribed medicine, drugs and narcotics, unlicensed , illegal radio equipment’s, sexual material and content, sex toys, and content of similar nature.

Special notes to international websites

  • Develop filters for explicit material where visitors can activate/deactivate
  • Isolate explicit content from the rest of General content (e.g. by having “Adult only” section)
  • Safe search feature: if the website offers search tools, the website should ensure the filtering of search results so that they are free of any prohibited content.
  • Block access to infringing material: preventing access to the infringing material must be based on the applicable laws in UAE and by placing a notice (this content is not available in your country)
  • Rating system: In case the website is outside the UAE and serve many countries, a content classification system must be followed to isolate pornography or adults accepted materials. The site should also prevent access to these materials if they intend access to the UAE.
  • Mechanism for reporting abuse: the site must provide an effective and easy mechanism for users to report any abuses that may occur on the website and should ensure following-up and resolving cases within a reasonable time (for example, a day or two).
  • Disable offensive accounts:
  1. The website owner must identify a help contact to assist the competent authorities to perform their roll

  2. The site must disable offensive accounts when reported by the competent UAE authorities.

User privacy protection:

The website should:

  1. Publish a clear privacy policy that explains what information is collected, how to address and save them and how they can be made available to the public. In addition to acquiring the user’s explicit consent in the event of availing his/her information to any other party.

  2. Request the user to provide only the necessary information for service.

  3. Adhere to the confidentiality of users' information, save it using the proper techniques such as encryption and do not allow any party except with the consent of the user or on the basis of the legal proceedings window.

  4. Refrain from collecting addresses and contact information of visitors for the purpose of sale or publication.

Assistance to law enforcement agencies:

Site owner must fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies in events of crimes or violations, and provide the necessary assistance or information for the investigation and evidence collection.

 

Q1 2022

 

#

Prohibited Content Category

Number of blocked websites

Percentage of total blocked websites

1

Bypassing Blocked Content

8

0.91%

2

Pornography nudity and vice

435

49.26%

3

Impersonation fraud and phishing

377

42.70%

4

Insult slander and defamation

0

0.00%

5

Invasion of Privacy

0

0.00%

6

Supporting criminal acts and skills

0

0.00%

7

Drugs

32

3.62%

8

Medical and pharmaceutical practices in violation of the laws

0

0.00%

9

Infringement of intellectual property rights

0

0.00%

10

Discrimination racism and contempt of religion

1

0.11%

11

Viruses and malicious programs

0

0.00%

12

Promotion of or trading in prohibited commodities and services

20

2.27%

13

Illegal communication services

0

0.00%

14

Gambling

2

0.23%

15

Terrorism

0

0.00%

16

Prohibited TLD

0

0.00%

17

Illegal Activities

6

0.68%

18

Upon order from judicial authorities or in accordance with the law

0

0.00%

19

Offences against the UAE and public order

2

0.23%


Total

883

100%

 


The prohibited content is defined as any content that offends against, is objectionable to, or  is contrary to the public interest, public morality, public order, public and national security, Islam morality or is otherwise prohibited by any applicable UAE law, regulation, procedure, order or requirement, as more specifically described in each of the Prohibited Content Categories below. Access to website and webpages that contain prohibited content is blocked by the Internet service providers in UAE. 

**This is not an official translation of the categories. Please refer to the Arabic version for any legal reference

1. Bypassing blocked content:

This category includes internet content that allows or helps users to have access to prohibited content including the proxy servers and Virtual Private Networks Services (VPNs) that mainly allow access to the prohibited content on the internet.

2. Pornography, nudity and vice:

This category includes the following:

  • Pornography and nudity content.
  • Internet content that promotes, or facilitates publishing or exchanging child pornography.
  • Internet content that motivates, supports, promotes or publishes opinions that include aggression to public manners or involves corrupting youth or calling for embracing or promoting destructive principles such as homosexuality.
  • Internet content that motivates and supports or promotes practice of vice, adultery, prostitution or illegal and unethical relations and the internet content related to human trafficking crimes or those including prostitution advertisements.
  • Internet content that promotes or used for the purpose of trading of sexual or immoral goods such as movies, photos, drawings, books, stories, jokes in addition to electronic and interactive games, sexual games and others.

3. Impersonation, fraud and phishing:

This category includes the following:

  • Internet content that is used in practices of deception, fraud, theft and embezzlement.
  • internet content that compiles, publishes or allow others to have access to bank statements or accounts, data, credit or electronic card numbers or any electronic payment method and also the content that compiles, publishes or allows others to have access to names, secret numbers or access codes to websites or information technology means such as email and others.
  • internet content that impersonate or claims status of others for fraudulent purposes.
  • internet content that promotes witchcraft, voodoo or sorcery.

4. Insult, slander and defamation:

Internet content that includes materials of insult, slander and defamation.

5. Invasion of Privacy:

This category includes the following:

  • internet content that includes tools for phone tapping, espionage, theft or publication of private information or tracking, recording or intercepting communications or conversation without right.
  • internet content that exposes news, photos or comments related to the private or family life even if it is true if publishing the same shall harm the concerned person in publication. In addition, this includes disclosure of a secret that may harm a person’s reputation, wealth or trade name or the publication of something intended to threatening or forcing him to pay money or provide benefit to others or be deprived of freedom to work.
  • Internet content related to medical examinations, medical diagnosis, medical treatment or care or medical records.
  • Internet content that allows access to private information illegally including those related to addresses and phone numbers of individuals or which allows disturbing others such as spam messages.
  • Internet content that includes confidential information of public corporations in the UAE.

6. Offences against the UAE and public order

This category includes the following:

  • Internet content that aims to or publishes information, news, statements or rumors for the purpose of ridicule, abuse or harming the reputation, prestige or status of the UAE or any of its establishments, president, rulers of emirates or their crown princes or deputy rulers, the flag of the UAE, the national anthem or the UAE’s symbol, national anthem or its logos.
  • Internet content that aims to, promotes or calls for overthrowing or changing the regime in the UAE or usurping the same or to invalidate provisions of the constitution or laws prevailing in the country or those opposing the main principles on which the regime in the UAE is established.
  • Internet content that calls for or provokes noncompliance to the applicable laws and regulations.
  • Internet content that is involved in planning, organizing, promoting or calling for demonstrations, marches or the like without authorization from the competent authority.
  • Internet content that would threaten the security of the UAE or affect public order.
  • Internet content that includes news of official confidential communications or military affairs.
  • Internet content that would harm the national currency or lead to confusion about the economic condition in the country.

7. Supporting criminal acts and skills:

Internet content that provokes, calls for, promotes or provides information about how to carry out acts of crime or felony or contributes to or facilitates carrying out or supporting the same such as theft, fraud, robbery, forgery, faking, bribery, killing, suicide, blackmail, threat, rape, commercial cheating and breaching the properties of others, abduction, evasion from application of law, money laundry, smuggling prohibited content and other crimes punishable by the law.

8. Drugs:

Internet content that promotes or contributes to trading with drugs and mind affecting substances and the manner of using or manufacturing the same or obtaining drugs or facilitating their circulation in circumstances that are not legally authorized.

9. Medical and pharmaceutical practices in violation of the laws:

This category includes the following:

  • Internet content of health establishments, doctors, medical professionals in violation of the relevant laws.
  • Internet content that includes health advertisements in violation of cabinet resolutions concerning health advertisements.
  • Internet content that is used in promoting or trading pharmaceuticals that are issued against prescription and to provide the same without asking for the medical prescription.
  • Internet content that promotes medicine and medical products that are prohibited or unlicensed including dietary supplements, weight loss products, weight increase and unlicensed cosmetic pills and creams.

10. Infringement of intellectual property rights:

This category includes the following:

  • Internet content that infringes the rights of intellectual property such as providing and publishing movies, photos, drawings, books, electronic programs and games, encrypted TV and radio channels and other intellectual property rights in electronic form.
  • Websites that provide information, tools and methods aiming to infringing intellectual property rights and penetrating the protection means used for protecting such rights such as decoding movies and coded TV channels and operation of copied magnetic diskettes and copied electronic programs and games and deactivation of protection systems designed exclusively for combating piracy.

11. Discrimination, racism and contempt of religion:

This category includes the following:

  • Internet content which contains or promotes offending, defaming, insulting, ridiculing or violating any of the religions or any of its rites, sanctities or divine books, or interfering with freedom to practice one's religion by violence or threat.
  • Internet content which contains or promotes Inciting apostasy and leaving Islam or inciting conversion to a religion other than Islam . This include websites that incite atheism.
  • Internet content that promotes or favors what would raise sedition, hatred or racism or sectarianism or harming national unity or social peace or disturb the public order or public morals.
  • Internet content that would make any form of discrimination and provoke hate speech or inciting tribal prejudices with intent to incite hatred between individuals and groups.
  • Internet content that exploits religion to disbelief individuals or groups by using one of the methods of expression or using any of the means in order to achieve special interests or illegal purposes.
  • Internet content that promotes magic and sorcery which are contrary to the teachings of Islam.

12. Viruses and malicious programs:

This category includes the following:

  • Internet content that promotes or supports or contributes to establishing, publishing, distribution and development of malicious programs and viruses, hacking and piracy programs and the sites that provoke, promote or publish information about how to hack networks, information technology devices or communications or having access to the same without right or to disrupt them in addition to the sites that provide supporting services for the above.
  • Internet content that supports or provokes attacking information technology or communications networks for the purpose of disrupting the same.
  • Internet content and networks that are infected with viruses or malicious programs or from which viruses, malicious programs or intentional attacks are released in order to disrupt another service or network, and sites and systems of command and control of networks infected with viruses.
  • Internet content that downloads malicious code that gather personal information of the users or make it possible to manipulate their devices without their knowledge.

13. Promotion of or trading in prohibited commodities and services:

Includes the sites that promote or used for trading or allow advertising or dealing with commodities prohibited in the UAE under the prevailing laws or the restricted commodities that require license from the competent authorities and are being promoted or circulated without authorization from the competent authorities, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Gambling tools and machines.
  • Counterfeit money.
  • Hazardous waste.
  • Prints, paintings, photographs, drawings, cards, books, magazines and stone sculptures, which are contrary to the Islamic religion or public morals, or involving intent of corruption or sedition.
  • Endangered species of animals, birds and plants or their members according to international treaties such as raw ivory (elephant’s tusk), rhino horn, bustards and falcons unless licensed by the competent entities.
  • Chemical and radioactive material.
  • Liquor.
  • Tobacco and smoking.
  • Counterfeit and fake goods.
  • Radar detection devices.
  •  Firearms, ammunitions and explosives.
  •  Satellite receivers, which transmit encrypted satellite channels illegally or related services.
  • Relics and artistic masterpieces other than those authorized by law.
  • Wireless and wired communication devices according to the Telecom Law.
  • Real estate.
  • Universities, educational institutes, and nurseries.
  • Other commodities that are prohibited or restricted as decided by the competent entities from time to time.

14. Illegal communication services:

This category includes internet content that promotes or allows access to illegal communication services according to a regulation or decision by the competent authority.

15. Gambling:

This category includes internet content that promotes gambling and similar activities such as bets and lottery and those related to electronic gambling activities.

16. Terrorism:

This category includes the following:

  • Internet content relating to terrorist groups or any illegal group, association, organization or body or any content that facilitates communication with their leaders or members or to attract members or promote and favor their ideas or assist in financing their activities or contribute to assisting them actually or any content that publishes methods of making fire or explosive devices or any other tools used in terrorist acts.
  • Internet content that incites, encourages or enables the commission of a crime against the UAE or one of its citizens or employees or its interests or public funds or public facilities abroad, including embassies, consulates, missions, or affiliate offices.
  • Internet content that incites, encourages or enables the commission of a crime for the purpose of influencing the UAE or getting it or one of its officials to do or abstain from doing something.
  • Internet content that incites, encourages or enables the commission of a crime onboard a means of transportation registered with the UAE or carrying its flag.
  • Internet content that incites, encourages or enables the commission of a provocative act of crime in the territory of the UAE or abroad.
  • an act that would or intend to threaten the stability of the UAE or its safety, unity or security, or oppose the basic principles underlying the regime, or intend to overthrow or takeover the regime, or invalidate some of the provisions of the Constitution unlawfully, or prevent one of the establishments of the UAE, or one of the public authorities from exercising their work, or harming national unity or social peace.

17. Prohibited Top level Domains

This category includes top-level domains on the internet allocated for purposes that violate the laws of the UAE regardless of website content falling under them. e.g. top-level domains for pornographic material .xxx and others.

18. Illegal Activities:

This category includes internet content that is mainly used to practice activities in violation of the laws in the UAE other than those mentioned in the other categories such as:

  • Promoting or calling for the collection of donations without an authorized license.
  • Promoting investment portfolios or funds and trading of stocks, currencies and metals without obtaining a license from the competent entities according to prevailing laws.
  •  Organizations (such as clubs, non-profit organizations, groups, corporations and bodies) banned in the UAE.
  • Any other illegal activities.

19. Upon order from judicial authorities or in accordance with the law:

This category includes internet content that is blocked by order from the judicial authority (local or federal) or public prosecution in the UAE whether in relation to criminal, civil, commercial, legal case or other cases or those that are blocked according to the laws prevailing in the UAE.

Reporting prohibited content to the Internet Service Providers in UAE

Disclaimer: If the website is a social networking website, it is highly recommended to use the reporting mechanism provide by the website. In most cases, more information will be provided under the website “help” or “support” pages.

In order for the Internet service providers to consider your request, the reported content should fall under one of the prohibited content categories.

Reporting Prohibited Content

The licensees in UAE are providing the Internet users with the following forums to report any content that is considered prohibited.

To report to Etisalat

To report to DU

Additionally, you can report websites with content that may fall under the prohibited categories, or websites that might have been mistakenly blocked, to TDRA through the block/unblock website service. Check the service details here

 

Reporting a website that should not be blocked:

To aware the licensees of websites that might be mistakenly blocked, the licensees are providing a link in the block page itself that appears when you try to access the blocked website.

Etisalat

Du

Reporting abuse on social media website and applications

 

To report abuse and issues on social media websites and applications, users are advised to use the reporting tools / pages/ forms that are provided by the website/application. Below is a list of reporting links provided by the popular social media websites/ applications. Once a report is submitted, the website/application concerned team will review the case and take appropriate action according to their policies.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Policy
Internet Access Managment - Regulatory Policy

Voice and video calls are considered Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services that are a regulated activity in the UAE. Such services shall be provided by the licensed service providers or in collaboration with them. Kindly refer to the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Policy.

The licensed service provider in UAE are obliged to block the traffic of VoIP applications that are not in compliance, as it falls under the prohibited content category of Illegal communication services”. Kindly refer to the prohibited content categories.

TDRA, at its sole discretion, may provide a VoIP exemption approval to allow VoIP applications in the UAE, taking into consideration the users and market demands and needs. Applicants may request the “ VoIP exemption” by sending  an official letter addressed to TDRA and sharing a soft copy of the letter to the email: VoIP@tdra.gov.ae

Read the FAQs related to VoIP.

Below is the list of  VoIP applications that are currently allowed in the UAE.

  • General
    • Microsoft Teams
    • Skype for Business
    • Zoom
    • Blackboard
    • Google Hangouts Meet
    • Cisco Webex
    • Avaya Spaces
    • BlueJeans
    • Slack
    • BOTIM
    • C ME
    • HiU Messenger
    • Voico
    • Etisalat Cloud Talk Meeting.
    • Matrx
    • Totok
    • Empay
    • Sanad
    • Comera
  • Telehealth
    • Mind Mina Telemedicine 
    • NextGenGP Telehealth 
    • vSee
    • OKADOC 
    • DOXY 
    • GetBEE 
    • Dhani Health

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Last updated :

30/06/2022 08:13