Saudi gets tough on cyber crime

Saudi Arabia is preparing to bring in a tough new law in order to reduce and prevent electronic crime, according to the Kingdom’s Arab News website.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  August 13, 2006

Saudi Arabia is preparing to bring in a tough new law in order to reduce and prevent electronic crime, according to the Kingdom’s Arab News website. A new report on this site suggests that the draft law will be debated by the Kingdom’s Shoura Council within the next few weeks. This law will see those charged with electronic crimes to be sentenced either up to 10 years in prison, or fined SR5 million, or both. According to Abdul Rahman Al-Yami, head of the Shoura’s Communications and Information Technology Committee and quoted on ArabNews.com, the law will include 16 articles, with its overall aim being to prevent the internet being used to either cause harm to, or defame, Saudi Arabian individuals and organisations. Article 3 of the law for instance also targets those found logging into private e-mail messages without permission and misusing mobile cameras. Al-Yami added that the new law would apply not only to hackers but also to consumers who use Bluetooth technology, as included on many new mobile phones, to send inappropriate pictures. In 2002 Saudi authorities banned the sale and use in the Kingdom of mobile phones featuring built-in digital cameras. However, these products still found their way onto the Kingdom’s market in large numbers and were even still publicly promoted, including in the capital city, Riyadh. The camera phone ban was overturned in December, 2004.

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