Analysis of Cyber Laws in UAE, Australia And China

By: Apoorva B N


In the modern swift- moving world, computers and internet are no more a privilege. Internet facilities have become a necessity as it is the par on course for any individual’s life today. Today, we have achieved so many advancements in the technological arena that it is next to impossible to even imagine our lives without computers or the internet. Now that internet has made its way to almost every aspect of human life, along with its blessings are its share of dangers and threats that haunt individuals today. In order to regulate the use of internet and everything that comes with it, ‘Cyber law’ emerged as a necessary facet of law. Cyber law deals with disputes arising in the internet domain, including matters like data protection, privacy concerns, identity left, electronic signatures, information technology and security. As information technology is looking at advancements taking place at a rapid rate, law regarding its regulation also needs to be updated at the same rate. In India, the main legislation that seeks to regulate information technology and related aspects is the Information Technology Act, 2000. Various amendments are being made to this legislation from time to time to be on par with the technological advancements that are taking place in the IT field. Similarly, this article aims to get an understanding and a brief analysis of the cyber laws of other jurisdictions like UAE, Australia and China.


Technological advancement is one of the most important factors contributing to a country’s economy. It also brings about modern rapid changes to the social lives of the individuals. Advancement in technology and science brings about rapid growth in employment opportunities thereby increasing the GDP of the country that enriches the economy as a whole. Information Technology is the study and use of computer systems to store, retrieve and send information.[1] In order to regulate information technology, especially facets of it including internet law, information and digital security, IT law or cyber law has emerged as a necessary aspect of law.

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UAE is said to be the most digitally advanced Arab country. It had also made its place in the top 20 digital economies in 2018[2]. In 2017, two breakthrough digital initiatives, the Dubai Internet of Things (IoT) Strategy and the Digital Wealth Initiative, were launched[3]. Securing an important position in the word for being digitally advanced, UAE has its own set of cyber security laws for the regulation of the cyber threats and like offences that form a part of any technological advancement. Therefore, the UAE has a comprehensive legislation on cyber laws called the ‘Cyber Crimes Law 2012’ (UAE-Law No. 5 of 2012)[4]. Few of the important offences and penalties that are covered under this legislation are—

  • Promoting or publishing pornographic material or indecent act and gambling activities.
  • Publishing of others information and photos on internet
  • Violating others privacy by eavesdropping and publishing the information using the social media
  • Human Trafficking
  • Data Forgery of prohibitive data
  • Unauthorized use and interception of computer services

Penalties for imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and a fine up to 200,000 AED.

The National Electronic Security Authority (‘NESA’) implements the Cyber Law and regulates the protection of communications networks and information systems in the UAE.[5] The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (‘TRA’) was established by the Telecommunications Law to supervise the telecommunications division in the UAE. The TRA set up the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to advance the standards of information security and protect the IT set-up.

Information Security Regulation (ISR) standards from Dubai Smart Government mandates government entities in Dubai to implement requirements and controls stated in the standard to ensure appropriate level of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information assets.[6]

These were the key features of the Cyber law infrastructure in the UAE.

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The legislations that deal with cyber and Information technology laws in Australia are as follows[7]

  1. Australian Privacy Principles (APP): It is an amendment made to the Privacy Act, 1983 including various other amendments like—
  • The Privacy and data protection Acts, 2014-Victoria ;
  • Privacy and data protection Act, 1998– New south Wales;
  • Privacy and information Act, 2009– Queensland;
  • Personal information Privacy Act, 2004– Tasmania;
  • Information privacy Act, 2014– Australian capital territory;
  • Information Act, 2002– Northern territory.
  1. The Cybercrime Act, 1995: In August 2012, the Government passed the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Act 2012(Cth) (CLAA). The purpose of the CLAA was to empower Australia to assent to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (Cybercrime Convention), the only international treaty on cybercrime. The Cyber Crime Act, 1995 was very much based on the international convention on cybercrime and it contains various offences relating to the unauthorised access, modification, or impairment of data and restricted data (sections 477.1, 477.2 and 478.1 of the Criminal Code).
  2. TELECOMMUNICATION ACT, 1997—The main objective of this legislation is to protect the privacy of individuals who use Australian telecommunication systems related to real time communications.[8]

These were the key Cyber law legislations of Australia and their objectives.

When it comes to high tech crime or cybercrimes of national importance, the accountability of investigation and response is conferred to Australian Federal Police (AFP). They possess jurisdiction over cases of cybercrime concerning online frauds affecting any governmental institution. Their jurisdiction further ranges to the investigation of cases related to virtual child sex harassment and exploitation, child protection and tourist child sex offenders.[9]

The Director of Public Prosecutions prosecutes on violations relating to unauthorised admission to data, damage caused to electronic communication and use of carriage services to harass or cause a wrongdoing, within sections 478.1(1), 477.3(1) and 474.17 of the Criminal Code (Cth).[10]

The New South Wales Police are conferred with powers to investigate and prosecute online fraudsters in offences in areas like internet banking, mobile banking, phishing, mule recruitment, shopping and auction site fraud, scams, spam and identity theft, child sexual exploitation and cyber bullying offences.[11]

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The Chinese Government has always laid emphasis on the advancement in science and technology. Their innovation model includes huge projects in areas like Nano Technology, biotechnology, aircrafts, high-end generic microchips etc. Cybersecurity law of the People’s Republic of China was enacted by the e Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on November 7, 2016 and was enforced on June 1, 2017. The key features of the cyber law of China are as under[12]

  1. Security obligations of ISPs
  2. Rules for the transnational transmission of data at critical information infrastructure
  3. Rules for personal information protection
  4. Principle of cyberspace sovereignty

It also provides intricate rules and definitions on legal liability for various unlawful conducts, and sets a range of punishments like fines, suspension for modification, withdrawal of licenses and commercial licenses among others. The law therefore enforces cybersecurity and administrative authorities with powers and duties to implement the law against illegal activities.

Relevant cases in China[13]

Sina Weibo v. Maimai (2016) was the first unfair competition case concerning big data analytics in China. The central issue for the court to decide was whether the alleged “unauthorized collection and use of data” and its related activities constitute unfair competition under the Anti- Unfair Competition Law. The case is a landmark decision to address one of the important questions on competition for data resources in the internet industry: to what extent data scraping (both personal data and other data) targeting a competitor could be potentially caught by the rules of unfair competition.

Tencent v. Douyin (2019) – case concerning the ownership of users’ ID, nicknames and profile pictures.

Facts: Douyin had entered into a Developer Agreement with WeChat and QQ platforms, and had access to users’ WeChat and QQ IDs, nicknames and profile pictures. Douyin had shared those data with Duoshan, a social networking product run by its affiliate. WeChat and QQ platforms claimed that the unauthorized use of IDs, nicknames and profile pictures of their users constitute unfair competition. The court granted a temporary injunction restraining Douyin from using those user data until the date of final judgment. It remains to be seen whether the court would consider the case following the same logic of the Maimai case.

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We can therefore conclude on being able to have understood the meaning and importance of information technology and how it has become an inevitable and a significant aspect of human life today. We also understood the IT laws or cyber laws that are codified in various jurisdiction across the world, like UAE, Australia and China. By the above stated information, it is safe for us to conclude that among the countries whose cyber laws have been discussed in this article, China appears to be the most technologically advanced country thereby making it better equipped in IT or cyber laws to regulate the threats that will be posed with technological advancements. Secondly, UAE is also seen to have been making efforts and taking efficient steps to get their IT or Cyber law infrastructure well- equipped. Australia appears to be relatively backward in terms of technological advancements in comparison with China and UAE. But Australia’s latest technological advancements have given rise to good legal backing by way of the cyber law legislation of the country.

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[3] Ibid.

[4] BASSAM ZA’ZA’, ‘UNDERSTANDING UAE’S CYBERCRIME LAW AND PENALTIES’, GOING OUT, SEPTEMBER 12, 2015 07:00,,and%20seriousness%20of%20the%20cybercrime.

[5] IBID.



[8] “Cybercrime Laws in Australia.” 11 2018. All Answers Ltd. 12 2020



[11] Ibid.

[12] LAUREN MARANTO, ‘WHO BENEFITS FROM CHINA’S CYBERSECURITY LAWS?’, CSIS,,for%20China’s%20present%20day%20guidelines.&text=The%20law%20requires%20that%20data,to%20government%2Dconducted%20security%20checks.

[13] Recent privacy case law update in China, Dentons, file:///C:/Users/Apoorva%20Narendranath/Downloads/8b0990bc-f987-428d-b3c1-4eea30fbce82.pdf