Swearing on WhatsApp Could Land you Jail Time and a Serious Fine

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Watch out, using profane language on your favorite text message app, WhatsApp, could be dangerous, as new laws rule it is illegal to swear on the app and doing so could lead to jail time and a hefty fine of $68,000, according to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government. The fine is so severe swearing on the app could even lead to UAE citizens being deported

According to new laws governing Internet users, a person living in the UAE could be fined a whopping $68,000 for using profane or foul language on WhatsApp, the free text messaging app for iPhone and Android.

One man has already been charged, facing the harsh law after prosecutors denied the man’s ask for a lesser fee, demanding he pay the fine in full of $50,000 or face jail time.

“FSC supported the prosecutor’s appeal and affirmed the need for enforcement of the law governing information technology crimes involving a Dirham 250,000 fine and deportation from the country.”

The case has since been directed to the court of appeal, where the man now awaits for a new hearing.

According to surfaced court documents, the individual of unknown ethnicity, is being prosecuted under newly introduced cybercrime laws after the individuals colleague reported him to the police for sending him an offensive message.

The man charged allegedly sent his colleague threatening and profane messages through WhatsApp, which he presented before the court. The contents of the messages were not disclosed in court documents.

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This is not the first time and sure won’t be the last time a simple digital message will land people in legal battles with serious fines. According to reports, the newly featured middle finger emoji as featured in Windows 10 could land you right in jail. If you’re caught sending the message to another individual it could land you some serious jail time and a hefty fine, as the gesture has been ruled illegal by the UAE government.

“It’s an insult in the UAE and the law can punish you with either jail of up to three years or a fine of up to Dhs500,000 ($136,150).”

However, sending the emojoi as a jaoke to friends would not lead to legal actions, as at least one idividual has to file a complaint themselves, Al Nasir explained.

“With the development of technology, people have started insulting others on social media using services like WhatsApp or BlackBerry messenger,” Nasir added. “Some people insult or mock others thinking nobody can prosecute them. But the UAE has issued a cyber-crimes law to punish anyone committing any crime like insulting someone using technology.”

Over 100,000 British nationals legally live under the jurisdiction of the UAE and often fall victim to their outlandish laws. Not only UAE citizens fall victim to these laws, foreigners are even threatened of being deported if caught breaking these laws.

So next time you’re in the UAE, be careful of what you say unless you’re prepared to pay a five digit fine.

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[Photo via Jan Persiel/Flickr [CC BY 2.0]]

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Brandon Stosh is the founder and CEO of www.freedomhacker.net. Stosh is a cyber security researcher and professional consultant who strives to provide reliable news on cyber-security based topics.

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