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EXTRA: In Saudi Arabia, snooping through your spouse’s phone could land you in jail

EXTRA: In Saudi Arabia, snooping through your spouse’s phone could land you in jail
April 03
13:34 2018

The Saudi Arabian government has asked residents of the country to “think twice” before spying on their spouse’s phone as the act is now a criminal offence.

According to the new anti-cybercrime law— applicable to both husbands and wives— offenders are liable to a fine of $133,000 and or spend a year in jail.

The law aims to “protect morals of individuals and society and protect privacy” and could tend to protect husbands from their wives.

“Married individuals planning to spy on their spouse in Saudi Arabia will need to think twice, because such an activity could potentially attract a fine of 500,000 riyals ($133,000, €108,000), along with a prison term for a year,” the information ministry said in a statement.

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The move comes amid a “steady increase in cyber-crimes such as blackmail, embezzlement and defamation”.

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.

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A similar law in neighbouring United Arab Emirates also bars the practice, carrying a minimum three-month prison term and $817 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.

In November 2017, a Qatar Airways flight headed to Bali, Indonesia, was forced to make an emergency landing in India when a woman caused a scene on the plane.

She had used husband’s finger to unlock his fingerprint-sensitive phone while he was asleep, and discovered that he was having an affair.

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