Spying through spouse’s phone could land you in jail: Saudi Law


Dubai (Reuters) : Spying on your spouse’s phone in Saudi Arabia now carries a hefty fine and up to a year in prison, under a new law that aims to “protect morals of individuals and society and protect privacy”.

“Married individuals planning to spy on their spouse in Saudi Arabia will need to think twice,” the Ministry of Culture and Information said in a statement after the Anti-Cybercrime Law came into effect.

According to the Saudi Anti-Cybercrime Law, such an offence could attract a fine of SAR500,000 ($133,000), along with a prison term for a year.

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.

The punishment will apply to both men and women in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom, according to a statement late on Monday (April 2) by the ministry of culture.

But it could tend to protect husbands from their wives.

Harsher punishment is reserved for those who access phones or computers with the intent to delete or distribute private data. Such offenders face up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to 3 million Saudi Riyals ($799,410).

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”.

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.

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