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Privacy violators on Web face tough punishments

“Anyone who re-sends messages (via mobile phones and smartphone applications) that violate the sanctity of the private lives of citizens through insult, mockery, and violation of the sanctity of public morals, religious values and public order, will be sentenced of five years in jail, in addition to a fine of SR 3 million,” the former vice chairman of the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) announced recently.
Awad Alassaf, a prominent lawyer, said that criminal intent is required in these crimes. The judge will study the evidence provided by the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution.
Anyone on the receiving end should file a claim to either a police station or the Ministry of the Interior through its website.
IT crimes expert Hussein Sindi confirmed that official bodies could track spammers and abusers across smart devices and social networking sites and added that the number of accounts in WhatsApp and Facebook are higher than those of Twitter and BlackBerry.
He said that the reason for this is the fact that software such as WhatsApp and Facebook take into account society’s particularities. These two cooperate with official bodies, unlike Twitter and BlackBerry, which protect the privacy of the individual in the first instance.
As for computer-related crimes, an anti-cyber crime law has been enforced to achieve a balance between the interests of society and the presence of modern technology. Alassaf has said that the law defines computer crimes as any crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer, as any electronic device, fixed or movable, wired or unwired, contains a data processing system where sent or received data is stored. This definition includes computers, laptops and mobile phones.
Alassaf emphasized the fact that Article 3 of the system provides for an imprisonment of one year with a fine of SR 500,000 for any person committing information-related crimes such as illegitimate threats or blackmail. An example of this includes illegal access to a woman's e-mail, Facebook or Twitter account.
Another passage of the article concerning information crimes involves violating the personal life of an individual through misuse of mobiles with cameras. This is most notably applicable when a woman gets her mobile fixed and the technician reads or views the content inside or uses this content for his own ends. This is a punishable crime.

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