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.”
The punishment will apply to both men and women in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom, according to a statement late on Monday by the ministry of culture.
Called the Anti-Cybercrime Law, the measure makes “spying on, interception or reception of data transmitted through an information network or a computer without legitimate authorization” a crime. It imposes a penalty up to 500,000 Saudi riyal ($133,000), prison or both.
“Social media has resulted in a steady increase in cybercrimes such as blackmail, embezzlement and defamation, not to mention hacking of accounts,” the ministry said.
A similar law on the books in the neighboring United Arab Emirates also bars the practice, carrying a minimum three-month prison term and 3,000 dirham ($817) fine.
The oil-rich and tech-obsessed countries are among the most avid social media users in the world, but traditional values remain ascendant, even in courts.
Reuters and Algemeiner Staff