Par La Rando

Property legislation in final approval stage

Dubai: Legislation crucial to the future of Dubai’s real estate sector is in its final stage of approval, say officials at Dubai Land Department. Eagerly-anticipated legislation concerning escrow accounts and a condominium law have passed the final draft stage and are awaiting official approval from the emirate’s rulers. It follows a lengthy period of consultation between the land department and property developers in Dubai. “The draft laws have been finalised and have been submitted for government feedback and approval,” said Mohammad Sultan Thani, director of development and marketing administration at Dubai Land Department. Concern Legal experts say the Strata (Condominium) Law will clarify owner/occupier responsibility for commonhold land, while Trust (Escrow) Accounts will protect buyers’ stage payments in independently-held accounts. According to information obtained by Gulf News, escrow accounts in Dubai will be managed by a number of domestic and international financial institutions, all of which will be supervised and monitored by the land department. “We need to determine which banks are in a position to handle this responsibility,” said Thani. An area of concern for many small developers was the stage that funds will be released. Many argued that payments held in accounts pending full completion of a project would create significant cash flow problems. According to Thani, the funds will be released in stages depending on the stage of project completion. Meanwhile, the release of the Condominium Law will also pave the way for a by-law to be signed on the rights and responsibilities of owners associations. Figures: Transactions double The value of land transactions in Dubai has doubled, according to figures released by Dubai Land Department. Transactions worth Dh8 billion were made In the first quarter of 2006 compared to Dh16 billion in the same quarter this year. – R.D.

Par La Rando

UAE creates team to fight cyber crime

Dubai: The UAE government yesterday said it would begin tackling internet crime head on with the formation of a new task force. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said it is creating a UAE Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT) for the detection and prevention of cyber crime in the country. Cyber crimes have wrecked havoc in some countries in recent past, with a breakdown in IT infrastructure and resulting in loss of valuable data. “Instead of reacting to virus attacks or hackers, we’re now taking action,” a TRA spokesperson told Gulf News. Mohammad Al Ganem, TRA director-general, said the project arose out of the need to “safeguard the critical information and communication technology infrastructure residing under the government, business, and education sectors.” Details on the scale and scope of the initiative were scarce yesterday, but Al Ganem said the response team would serve as a point of contact for incident reporting in the country, and also collaborate with international cyber crime prevention organisations. aeCERT would present a “proactive and structured approach” in deterring future cyber security incidents and raise the profile of IT security in the country, he added. New laws Al Ganem also raised the prospect that the team would help draft new laws governing internet crime. “The aeCERT will, no doubt, enhance the cyber security law and assist in the creation of new laws,” he said. The move comes a month after the TRA said it discovered an internet crime ring running fake financial services sites that sought to defraud unsuspecting UAE victims. This year the government also counteracted many attacks, mainly website defacement and phishing attacks, the TRA said. Web security professionals hailed the move as a positive step forward in protecting against an increasingly global array of threats. “Anyone using the internet is vulnerable to attack if they are not using the proper protection tools,” said Patrick Hayati, regional managing director for internet security firm McAfee. “There are two ways to fight cyber crime. One is to have the right tools in place to prevent attacks, and the other is to catch the bad guys and remove them from circulation. The TRA team will help with the latter.” Hayati also expressed his desire for the new team to begin recommending guidelines to educate companies on the necessary level of threat protection.