tuesday, 3 april of 2018

Saudi Arabia outlaws spying on spouse´s phone

Saudi Arabia on Monday announced "spying" on your spouse´s phone is now a criminal offence potentially punishable by a hefty fine - and a year in jail.

"Married individuals planning to spy on their spouse in Saudi Arabia will need to think twice, because such an activity could potentially attract a fine of 500,000 riyals ($133,000, 108,000 euros), along with a prison term for a year," read an English-language statement released by Saudi Arabia´s information ministry.

The provision, part of a new anti-cybercrime law which came into force last week, is meant to "protect morals of individuals and society and protect privacy", the ministry said.

The move comes amid a "steady increase in cybercrimes such as blackmail, embezzlement and defamation", the statement said.
The ultra-conservative kingdom is among the world´s top per capita users of cellphone apps and social media.

More than half of Saudi Arabia´s citizens are under 25, many of whom spend much of their time on mobile platforms, away from official strictures and traditions.

Saudi Arabia has launched a string of highly-publicised policy changes since the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to power last year.

The country will allow women to drive as of June and has lifted a decades-long ban on cinemas.

Saudi Arabia´s legislation on cybercrime has drawn harsh criticism from international rights groups in the past.

Dozens of Saudi citizens have been convicted on charges linked to dissent under a previous sweeping law, particularly linked to posts on Twitter.

Last September, authorities issued a public call for citizens to report on the social media activities of their fellow citizens, under a broad definition of "terrorist" crimes.

It directed suspicious activity be reported via the government-run "We are all security" app.

(Published by Times of India - April 2, 2018)

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