Rami Olwan

All About CyberLaw, Copyright and Developing Countries

Cyber Crimes in the Middle East

I was interested in cybercrimes in Dubai, 2001 when a British engineer named Lee Ashurst was caught for hacking into the state- controlled system, causing one of its servers to cease working, destroying the record of United Arab Emirates only internet service provider Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat). The cause of the attack was believed to be a work of international group of hackers.

Immediately, I had some questions running in the back of my mind. What is the real motive behind such behaviors and is it only for fun, showing technological ability or just for learning purposes? Will there be a sentence when there is no cybercrime law? How can judges decide properly when they do not have minumum understanding of the technological concepts surrounding computers? Do we need to issue new law to deal with cybercrimes, or we could relay on traditional criminal laws, or do we need a mixture of both at the same time? Is there a special qualified team at the Police Department to search and seizure digital evidence? Which courts are responsible for resolving the matter when there is a group of hackers cooperating in the crime? How can countries cooperate between each other in cybercrime cases that is considered to be transnational and mutli- jurisdictional in nature? What is the difference between conventional crime and cybercrime and how that might affect the theory and practice of law?

Most of the questions were answered after almost two years in a traditional sense, the British hacker was found guilty of hacking and fined $ 2,700. Although, there was no particular law that deals with cybercrime, Dubai Courts applied the Telecommunication Law, and the judge relied heavily on the technical experts who gave a basic explanation of how the crime was committed in cyberspace.

The case sent a clear message that cybercrimes will not be tolerated in the United Arab Emirates even when there is a legal vacuum and judges will expand the law to the widest possible terms to create the law that deals with matter. After that case, the legislator approved a new law in the country entitled Cybercrime Law No 2 of 2006.

The flourishing of e-commerce depends to a large extent on the security and authenticity of the interent. Many internet users do not wish to conduct online transactions in the Middle East since they fear that their credit cards will be used improperly by cybercriminals, and there are no laws or effective measures that can protect them in cyberspace. The is clearly a misconception and the internet is now over regulated with laws and regulations, but the question that remains how we should apply these laws and to what extent it will make the internet a safe place from cybercrimnals?

With the sophistication, transnationality of cybercrimes, and cybercrimnals getting smarter, it is imperative to cooperate on the international level. All possible means must be used and both technological and legal measures should be explored. The cooperation between the public sector and the private sector is a must to ensure that the best policies and technological measures are employed to prosecute cybercriminals. This in my opinion will provide some assurances for internet users in the Middle East that the internet is a relatively safe place for e-commerce.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *