Govt has the right to monitor, block social media networks, say Shoura members

Govt has the right to monitor, block social media networks, say Shoura members
Updated 01 October 2016

Govt has the right to monitor, block social media networks, say Shoura members

Govt has the right to monitor, block social media networks, say Shoura members

RIYADH: Shoura Council member Awad Al-Asmari says social media is a security hazard for all citizens and that the state has the right to monitor these networks on the condition that it doesn’t breach the privacy of people.
He said this protects the nation’s security and that the nation’s security is above everything else.
During deliberations at the Shoura Council this week, Al-Asmari called for devising a mechanism to ration social media usage whether specific sectors or defining programs that are of benefit to maintaining the nation’s security. He said that some websites have become places to spread rumors and destructive thoughts, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported.
He suggested monitoring these websites to curb their contribution to spreading rumors through destructive thoughts, the most important of which is signing an agreement with companies that produce applications. In some cases, companies agree to provide coding servers inside the Kingdom, and use ethical hackers to protect the nation and citizens’ interests from information technology crimes.
Al-Asmari said there are other methods to help uncover sources of rumors and destructive thoughts, even in the absence of cooperation by companies. He said that these methods recognize the source easily, and warned that social media is a large store that can be used when necessary to collect data about the world’s citizens to analyze them and use them in monitoring some individuals in particular, or study the habits of people to find their strong and weak points in order to hack them.
He added that social media is a window for criminals to hack societies and influence young people, which is why we need to spread awareness among community members. Fathers especially should talk to their children and clear misconceptions and dispel doubts sown in their mind by terrorists. Imams, orators and teachers should teach young people the morals of our forefathers. The media should broadcast programs about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and how he used to deal with others.
Fayez Al-Shahri also said the Kingdom has the right to block social media websites if these sites threaten the security of the nation. He said these websites can be blocked without going back to service providers according to agreements signed with them.
Al-Shahri stressed the importance of reviewing procedures that close the door on sedition, confirming that some social media accounts are the main source of incitement.
The Telecommunication Information Technology and Transport Committee at the Shoura Council completed the modifications to the Anti-Information Technology Crime Law and presented it to the council’s general commission before putting it to vote. It pointed out that the Kingdom is being subjected to hackings, defamations and abuse by various technological methods, both from inside and outside the Kingdom.
Fayez Al-Shahri, Awad Al-Asmari, Jibreel Arishi and Abdulaziz Al-Harqan said the practical application of the law’s articles and the new technologies proved that there is need to amend and add new articles to the Anti-Information Technology Crime Law.
The members said the amendments to the law were required to combat new forms of technological abuse, and lack of equilibrium between articles and new crimes as a result of the huge developments in technology and its uses. They said the proposed modifications will offer assistance to executive bodies and the legal system in describing and organizing, as well as responding to the community’s needs in reviewing the law.
The members stressed the importance of introducing modifications on general goals of the system to respond to new occurrences. They confirmed that some companies and individuals abuse electronic mediums, saying modifications will help executive bodies and the judicial system to describe and regulate, in addition to respond to the needs of the community in reviewing the law and adding new aspects.