Turning technology into a cybercrime


It’s common for many smartphone holders to take pictures and share them on the Internet and social media. Some users also share pictures of random people without their consent. This, however, might not be the case anymore.

The Communications and Information Technology Commission recently announced a new penalty of invading others’ privacies by taking pictures and sharing them online without their permission by being imprisoned for one year, paying a fine of SR500,000 or both.

Some strongly believe it is unethical to take photos of people in public. 24-year-old Asma Ibrahim said, “I never shared pictures of others on the Internet but if someone shared mine without my approval then I will surely report them.”

Nowadays, taking pictures is normalized but some will make sure to respect the privacy of others. “I did post pictures that have others in it, but I always ensure they don’t look clear, so they can’t be identified,” said 22-year-old Rawan Salem. “However, if someone shared a clear picture of me I will surely report but I am not aware of the methods of reporting.”

The Saudi society, in general, is private and conservative. That means privacy is a priority, especially for women. Therefore, in the recent years, the Saudi government interfered to limit such acts by issuing a law criminalizing whoever shares pictures of people online without their approval.

Despite such efforts, not all people are aware of the criminalization of such acts or its implementation.

Maha Sami, 25, commenting on the implementation of the law in the Kingdom, said, “I am aware that invading others’ privacies is a cybercrime but I never heard of punishments applied related to this particular cybercrime.”

Cybercrimes can be reported by going through different channels such as going to the nearest police station, Kollona Amn application, E-services of the Ministry of Interior (Absher), among others.