This article is from an official Emirates news agency, which confirms the change (Federal Law 12/2016). This is a change to Federal Law 5/2012, replacing Article 9 (the translation into English is odd because the verb phrase goes first). The level of the penalty has increased (minimum 150K → minimum 500K; maximum 500K → 2M). Incarceration is changed from "imprisonment" to "temporary imprisonment", which might mean that previously the term was life. In either case, they have an "and" problem that the punishment is "(temporary) imprisonment and a fine ... or either of these two penalties". Presumably the Arabic version is dispositive.
Apart from that, the new version of the law identifies the offender as
Whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (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
whereas the old law only said
whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol 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.
Thus the meaning of "computer network protocol address" is defined as being equivalent to "IP address".
In other words, there is no substantive change beyond the stiffer penalty. There does not seem to any provision allowing one to ask for exceptions. Article 30 of the underlying law strongly suggests that there is no exception and you should not ask.
On a separate note, only Etisalat and Du are authorized to provide telecommunications services, pursuant to Federal Decree Law No. 3/2003. This article from August 24, 2015 also links to a number of related articles indicating that everything is illegal.