Such activity could attract a fine of SAR500,000 and a jail term
RIYADH, April 2 (CIC) – 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 SAR500,000 ($133,000), along with a prison term for a year, thanks to the Anti-Cybercrime Law that criminalises such activities. The law, which came into force last week, is part of a larger initiative to strengthen information security, preserve the rights of internet users, as well as to protect morals of individuals and society and protect privacy.
Article No. 3 of the law states that “the punishment ranges from imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, and a fine of not more than SAR500,000 or either one of these penalties” in case a man or his wife spies on each other through a mobile phone.
Broadly speaking, the law criminalises “spying on, interception or reception of data transmitted through an information network or a computer without legitimate authorization”, or “unlawful access to computers with intention to threaten or blackmail any person to compel him to take or refrain from taking an action, be it lawful or unlawful”.
Harsher punishment has also been stipulated for “unlawful access to computers with the intention to delete, erase, destroy, leak, damage, alter or redistribute privet data”. Such offenders could be jailed for maximum four years and fined up to SAR3 million.
The move is significant considering that the growth of social media has resulted in a steady increase in cybercrimes such as blackmail, embezzlement and defamation, not to mention hacking of accounts.
Internet users may find themselves committing so-called cybercrimes without knowing that they are committing a crime or that they could be jailed or fined for their actions. On the other hand, some internet users know that what they are doing constitutes illegal use of the internet or social media, but think that the authorities cannot or will not find them.