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Spying on spouse’s phone in Saudi Arabia now carries $133, 000 fine

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Spying on your spouse’s phone in Saudi Arabia now carries a 133, 000 dollars 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 would apply to both men and women in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom, according to a statement on Tuesday by the ministry of culture.

It could tend to protect husbands from their wives.

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As in many other parts of the Muslim world, Saudi laws on divorce, inspired by scripture, often required wives seeking alimony to provide evidence of abuse or sexual promiscuity.

A husband’s phone could be a rich source of such evidence.

The Anti-Cybercrime Law, says “spying on, interception or reception of data transmitted through an information network or a computer without legitimate authorisation” is a crime.

It imposes a penalty up to 133, 000 dollars, 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 neighbouring United Arab Emirates also bars the practice, carrying a minimum three-month prison term and 817 dollas fine.

The oil-rich and tech-obsessed countries are among the most avid social media users in the world, but traditional values remained ascendant, even in courts.


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