Don’t Use a VPN in the UAE
In countries where one is barred from ‘normal’ access to your favourite sites such as Whatsapp, Google, Facebook, etc, ‘tunnelling’ via VPN is a technically feasible avenue (see my post re such access in Mainland China). However, whatever you do, Don’t use a VPN in UAE such as in the popular city of Dubai.
The President of the UAE issued a new law making it a federal crime to “use a fraudulent … IP address by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery.” Crimes, in this case, include accessing blocked sites and unlicensed services. In the UAE, those are both pretty common.f you use a VPN to access them, you’re up for temporary imprisonment, a fine ranging from (USD) $136,000 to $545,000, or both. More details can be found here.
While The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has subsequently clarified (on 2 August 2016) that the new law does not prevent the use of VPN technology by companies, institutions and banks to access their internal networks through internet. However, “business users can be held accountable, like the use of any other technology, if it has been misused,” the statement said. So, for ordinary travellers, it’d be advisable to play safe and just stay away from using it in UAE, and just bear the inconvenience of having no access to Whatsapp or Facetime while travelling in this country.