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Saudi Arabia outlaws snooping through spouse’s phone

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Saudi Arabia announced on Monday that snooping through a spouse’s phone is now a criminal offense which is punishable by hefty fines and up to a year in prison, or longer if it is done to spread private data.

“Married individuals planning to spy on their spouse in Saudi Arabia will need to think twice,” the Ministry of Culture and Information said in a statement after the Anti-Cybercrime Law came into effect.

Under the law, men and women who spy on their spouse through a mobile phone or a computer face up to one year in prison and a fine up to 500,000 Saudi Riyals ($133,235), the ministry said.

Harsher punishment is reserved for those who access phones or computers with the intent to delete or distribute private data. Such offenders face up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to 3 million Saudi Riyals ($799,410).

“The move is significant considering that the growth of social media has resulted in a steady increase in cybercrimes such as blackmail, embezzlement and defamation, not to mention hacking of accounts,” the ministry explained.

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