Everyone has had reason to believe that someone they interact with on a regular basis has not been entirely truthful with them. Everyone has, in these situations, felt the urge to know the whole truth. But some take it a step further; they go out of their way to find information proving or disproving their beliefs. Sometimes this includes recording their voice, face, or other aspects of their behavior. While for some this is considered a drastic step, and indeed, no one would want to be in the position of being recorded without their knowledge, what are the legal implications of actions like this? Read more about the Law Surrounding Eavesdropping and Privacy on the blog of Dubai’s top law firm.
In the United Arab Emirates, recording someone without their consent is a criminal offense punishable by law under its Penal Code. The UAE law maintains and protects a person’s right to privacy; therefore, when someone’s behavior, body, or actions are recorded without their consent, their privacy has been breached. Some might argue that not all actions should be protected from being recorded. For example, when someone is publicly walking in the street, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy, and therefore no right to complain when they are being recorded. However, this “reasonable expectation” standard does not apply between private individuals.
Now, we’ve all seen the crime suspense TV shows and films where the perpetrator of a crime gets out of being punished for a crime on a technicality. Sometimes this involves the improper handling of evidence. In general, we find it to be an outrage, an injustice, that something so technical and minor led to a criminal walking free. But, it is important to remember that these procedural elements of prosecution exist for a reason. In the UAE, evidence which is obtained without the consent of the individual are inadmissible before the Courts, no matter how damning they are. This is because the illegal evidence, firstly, lacks a clear chain of custody. It is unclear who has handled the evidence, if they have tampered with it, and so on. Secondly, a lawful action cannot arise from an unlawful act. In other words, one cannot claim that another person’s behavior is illegal and have that person prosecuted for that crime using evidence that they themselves obtained illegally.
In sum, while it is easy to impulsively believe that when someone is doing something wrong, they should be punished to the maximum extent, even if the evidence presented was gotten through less-than-ideal means. But coming at it from the perspective of any individual with individual rights, a violation of one set of rights does not entitle others to the violation of another set of rights.