March 26, 2007
RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Monday it will impose 1-year
prison sentences and fines of 500,000 riyals ($133,000) for Internet
hacking and misuse of mobile telephone cameras, such as taking
The cabinet said in a statement it approved a bill on information
technology crimes proposed last year by the kingdom's quasi-parliament,
the advisory Shura assembly.
The measure is to go to the king for ratification.
The bill would penalize "illegal entry into an Internet site or entering
a site in order to change its design, destroy it or amend it", it said
in a statement published by state media.
It also defines as a crime "infringing upon private lives through misuse
of mobile telephones equipped with cameras and similar devices with the
purpose of defaming or harming people".
Camera phones have been opposed by religious police in conservative
Saudi Arabia, which imposes a strict form of Islamic law. The country
banned the sale of the devices for several months in 2004.
But the restrictions have failed to stop the spread of the latest
technological fashions in a country of 24 million with high per capita
income and a burgeoning youth population.
The state strictly controls the use of the Internet by tracking users
and blocking sexual and some political content. Some Internet forums
used by liberal reformers and Islamist extremists have been stopped.
Copyright Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.
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