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RIYADH: On Monday, Saudi Arabia announced “spying” on spouse’s phone is now a criminal offence that is potentially punishable owing to a hefty fine and a year in jail.
“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 euros), along with a prison term for a year,” read an English-language statement released by Saudi Arabia’s information ministry.
The provision, part of a new anti-cybercrime law which came into force last week, is meant to “protect morals of individuals and society and protect privacy”, the ministry said.
The move comes amid a “steady increase in cybercrimes such as blackmail, embezzlement and defamation”, the statement read.
Nonetheless, the ultra-conservative kingdom is surprisingly among world’s top per capita users of cellphone and social media apps.
More than half of Arabian citizens are below 25, many of whom spend much of their time on mobile-app forums, away from their due traditions.
Saudi Arabia has launched a series of highly-publicized policy changes since the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to power last year.
The country will allow women to drive as of June and has reportedly lifted a decades-long ban on cinemas too.