Saudi Arabia on Monday announced ‘spying’ on your spouse’s phone is now a criminal offence potentially punishable by a year in jail and a hefty fine.
‘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 (£94,910.04), 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 ultra-conservative kingdom is among the world’s top per capita users of cellphone apps and social media.
More than half of Saudi Arabia’s citizens are under 25, many of whom spend much of their time on mobile platforms, away from official strictures and traditions.
Saudi Arabia has launched a string of highly-publicised policy changes since the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to power last year.