70% offences in UAE are cyber crimes

This was the headline I read in the Times of India today, while reading it online here. Of course living here for a while and also being part of the technology community I was curious at what exactly that meant. And so I clicked, like most of you guys who might have clicked as well. What surprised me is the fact that its the free media in India that looked at this and printed it. Well it does sound more like an advertisement if you really think about it, not to techies but to everyone else. Why do I think so, first of all, the fact that 70% of the crime in the UAE is cyber crime, would advertise that the place is really safe.

Image credit : Marcin Stawiarz

Dont get me wrong it is really safe, but I have this nagging feeling in the back of my mind while I am typing this that the safe environment here is a bit exaggerated. Why ? Maybe most of the crimes that happen here are not really picked up by the media to advertise, else the papers would be filled with the information about bounced cheques, fake chinese masage parlors (which are really a hooker joint) down right to the number of people fleeing the country. Rather the papers here talk about how the economy is bouncing back, how Emirates Airline and Dubai Duty Free are showing Billions in profit as well as how the population seems to be growing daily in the UAE. Its just seems a bit fake to me.

Secondly, the fact that the Cyber crimes listed are really completely legitimate activities to do in most of the world is another indication that the internet usage policy here in the UAE might not really be the best. VoIP, is the future, and a big hole in the profit of the government owned monopoly in the telecom business. Du and Etisalat don’t really like VoIP. But rather than mentioning how the UAE is not looking to progress with this technology, the papers write this:

“Among the most common cyber crimes is providing illegal VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls, which is the preferred method of communication for drug smugglers and human traffickers since these calls are hard to trace.”

The others are your regular downloading and of course the real cyber crimes, like identity theft, cheating etc. Dont get me wrong I am not pointing fingers at these abnormalities in Dubai, just the strangeness of the Indian media and how low it seems to be snooping down to. They might as well put up an article that reads, “Go to UAE, its heaven there“.

No UAE is not hell, but it might be getting there soon, with all the ‘financial issues’.

Check out the article here.