If you live in Saudi Arabia, you might want to think before you casually snoop through your spouse’s phone.
In a shocking new law, Saudi Arabia has criminalized spying on your partner’s mobile phone. The kingdom announced it will impose strict fines or jail time for married individuals who go through their partner’s mobile phone without consent.
The new anti-cyber crime law states “spying on, interception or reception of data transmitted through an information network or a computer without legitimate authorization" is now prohibited. Accessing your spouse’s phone or computer “unlawfully” or using the information to threaten and blackmail has been deemed illegal by the government.
“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), along with a prison term for a year,” read an English-language statement released by Saudi Arabia’s information ministry
The decision to impose the new law comes amid a “steady increase in cybercrimes such as blackmail, embezzlement and defamation,” the statement said.
Married couples, breaking the law, could face a fine, a year in prison or both.
The Saudi government says the new law helps protect user privacy and the basic right of internet users. The new law looks to curb spouse’s intervention in each other’s electronic gadgets and illegal use of information obtained from the devices.
Abdul Aziz bin Batel, a legal adviser, said any crime committed with the illegal use of computers, mobile phones and cameras is considered a cybercrime and will be punished accordingly.
The new law is part of the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030, which looks to put his country on par with other more liberal nations in the world.
Bin Salman recently lifted the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and has made key changes to the role of women in Saudi society.
Recently, Saudi Arabia also lifted its decade old ban on cinemas and women were allowed to attend concerts, although it banned “dancing” and “swaying.” MBS’s attempts in redefining Saudi laws and opting for a more diplomatic approach towards other nations of the world have garnered its critics and fans.
However, one cannot deny significant changes have been made to the Saudi policy ever since the crown prince became the de facto leader of the nation.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser