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  • Shahid Bolsen

Jail for Selfies

So, you're on holiday in the UAE, seeing the sights; the beach, Burj Khalifah, your plush hotel cafe...and, naturally, you want to take some selfies. Fill your friends on Facebook and Instagram with envy, right? Unfortunately, even this has become a risky issue in the UAE. You're going to need to take that selfie in a secluded corner of the cafe, or visit Jumeirah Beach at about 5 o'clock in the morning if you want a selfie that includes the sea and sand;because it is a criminal offence in the UAE if your selfie even accidentally contains the image of a stranger in the background.

"You could find yourself taking a mugshot for taking a selfie."

In the UAE, people meandering about in public places still have a right to privacy, and taking their picture (accidentally or deliberately) without their consent is a violation of that right. Now, obviously, this is a law that is going to be breached every day; indeed, thousands, if not millions of times a day. It is impossible to enforce consistently; but random enforcement is not a protection.