Bahrain gets tough on internet security
The Kingdom currently has no laws to protect citizens from internet-related abuse
Facing an increasing risk of child exploitation due to the rapid expansion of the internet, H. E. Sheikh Ahmed bin Atiyatallah Al Khalifa, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Minister Responsible for the Telecommunications Sector and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain (TRA), has revealed a plan to ensure a safer online environment in the Kingdom.
"We cannot imagine our life without the internet, without mobile phones and the latest devices connected to the internet. While the internet has a wealth of good attributes and uses, it also attracts criminals. These criminals realised that there are large financial gains to be made from exploiting our vulnerable; our child, our identity, our bank account and our life," said Sheikh Ahmed
The region's first State of the Nation Review into internet and digital media safety awareness and risk assessment, completed recently, highlighted several key areas of online concern for the country.
One of these was that the Kingdom currently has currently no legislative framework to protect children from internet related or other forms of abuse, or that seeks to protect adults from cybercrime, according to their press release. There is also no precedent for prosecuting cases of sexual abuse and physical abuse in the country.
Ten recommendations were set out by the State of the Nation Review, these include; setting up a committee to set out and ensure the implementation of the Kingdom's child e-safety strategy, training for police officers and prosecutors to ensure effective implementation of the new legislation and the implementation of cybercrime legislation.
One of the Kingdom's key initiatives to prevent the exploitation of their citizens, particularly children, is a free interactive tutorial on internet safety.
"This tutorial will not only provide information about how the internet works, but show internet users how to use the applications available. The tutorial will give advice on how to stay safe, avoid the pitfalls of using the internet and how to protect family. Every tutorial will include an antivirus software suite that can be installed if required for virus protection. We are aiming to ensure that in the coming months every computer in Bahrain is installed with legal and up to date anti-virus software," said Sheikh Ahmed.
The Government will also be considering creating a working group for Child Internet Safety which will be made up of Government agencies, TRA, Law makers, Industry and NGOs.