CCTV in the United Arab Emirates — the legal framework

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It is a given nowadays that we are routinely recorded going about our everyday lives. Cameras record not only the images of the individuals themselves, but all manner of information relating to individuals such as car registration numbers and models and time spent at work.

According to figures published by The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, there were around 25,000 CCTV cameras in Dubai in 2011. This figure is likely to be considerably larger by now. Only recently, another article in Gulf News reported that Abu Dhabi authorities have increased the number of CCTV cameras on the streets to try and reduce the number of traffic offences.

Back in 2011, The National called for a law regulating the use of CCTV cameras in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at a federal level but this has not been forthcoming, although some emirates do have specific regulations such as Dubai’s Law no. 24 of 2008, which regulates security services providers in the emirate of Dubai and provides guidelines on where and how cameras can be installed in public or private areas. Despite the lack of a specific unified law in the UAE covering CCTV, there are a number of different laws and regulations both at federal and local level that are relevant. There are various laws and regulations that protect fundamental human rights, such as the right to one’s own image as well as the right to privacy and confidentiality. Unfortunately, none of these cover the recording and processing of information by CCTV, particularly when this is done without consent…

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