Kingdom enacts new law to combat IT crimes

January 26, 2008

The Cabinet has passed a new law to combat information technology crimes, the Arab News reported today. The law will also support Saudi Arabia’s successful anti-terrorism campaign.


According to the new law, individuals who are found guilty of running websites in support of terrorist organizations will receive a 10-year jail sentence and be fined $1.3 million [SR 5 million].

“Those who establish websites for terrorist organizations on the Internet or in a computer in order to facilitate contacts with their leaders or members or promote their thoughts and finances or publish data on how to make explosives or any other materials used for terrorist operations will be sentenced to jail for up to 10 years and SR5 million fine,” the law said, as cited by the Arab News.

The law, which has 16 articles, also states that people who illegally take others’ money or obtain bank and credit data will be jailed for three years and fined around $533,000 [SR2 million]. Those who attack others’ private life using devices such as mobile phone cameras and try to defame them will be sentenced to one year and around $133,000 [SR500,000].

People who use information technology to spread and market pornography face up to five years in jail and a fine of around $800,000 [SR 3 million]. Those who produce and distribute IT material that violate public law, religious values and public etiquette will receive the same punishment.

Those who eavesdrop on e-mail messages or other messages sent via computer will be sentenced to a maximum of one year and fined up to $133,000 [SR500,000]. Those who threaten or blackmail a person as well as hackers who enter into others’ websites to change their designs and destroy or change data will receive the same punishment.

People who encourage others to commit IT crimes will receive the same punishment as those who committed the crime. They will get half of the punishment if it is they exhibited intent to commit the crime through their actions, even if the crime did not take place.

A source at the Interior Ministry told the Arab News that the law has already begun to be implemented.

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