The Council of Ministers, headed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, approved the IT Criminal Law in their session, held on Monday 7th R. Awal, 1428H. The law curtails IT crime(s), by defining such crimes and relevant punishments.
The law provides for a jail sentence no more than a year and a fine no more than SR500,000, or any of the two punishments, for any person committing the crimes described in the law. Examples of such crimes are: illegal entry into an electronic site; entry into an electronic site to change/delete/damage/steal the address; violation of privacy through abuse of camera-equipped mobile phones or the likes; and harming a person's reputation through any means of information technology.
The law makes provision also for imprisonment not to exceed 10 years and a fine no more than SR5,000,000, or any of the two punishments, of any person developing a website for terrorist organizations on the internet, or on a computer. It also applies to persons using the site for easier communications with the leadership of such organizations, to spread their thoughts, or publish bomb-making instructions.
The above law strikes an important balance between the right of the society to benefit from new technology and the right of the consumer for protection of his/her privacy. It also paves the way for establishment of IT legal system that safeguards the rights resulting from the legal use of computers and information networks. It also aims to protect public interest, morals, public ethics, and the national economy.
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