Public Prosecution clamping down on cyber criminals

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Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH โ€” The monitoring center at the Public Prosecution imposes a 24-hour surveillance on those cyber criminals, who use various ploys to cheat their victims through TikTok and other social media platforms. The center, through its technical team, monitors various sorts of cyber crimes and determines whether the criminal act requires the issuance of an arrest warrant or summons as part of taking punitive measures.

The monitoring center aims to provide protection for information content, enhance cyber law awareness, protect the public interest, ethics and public morals, and confront those who pose a threat to safe use of information content.

Legal expert Bandar Al-Maghamis said that the TikTok is one of the applications that enable unscrupulous guys to resort into fraudulent means. TikTok launched a new set of donation stickers, which enable users to raise awareness and funds for charitable causes via their TikTok clips. It has added a new option which enables users to display a nonprofit they wish to support on their public profile, with direct links through to donation options.

The fraudsters exploit these options to cheat the public. Most of these fraudsters operate from outside Saudi Arabia to collect donations and it is easier for them to cheat the innocent victims, Al-Maghamis pointed out. He noted that those involved in such crimes will face maximum jail term of six months or fine not exceeding SR50,000 or of both.

Al-Moghamis advised TikTok users not to respond to or publish these broadcasts from abroad, saying there are some violators looking for fame and material gain who publish content that is even openly inciting wives to divorce. Al-Maghamis indicated that some broadcasts deliberately post video clips and phrases that violate public morals. Such acts are considered as an information crime punishable by the Anti-Cyber Crime Law. The penalty for such crimes is imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding SR3 million or of both. It is considered as one of the major crimes that necessitate arrest, stressing that one of the objectives of the Anti-Cyber Crime Law is to protect the public interest and public morals.

On his part lawyer Walid Al-Otaibi said that the types of violations and crimes through the social media are multiple, and their penalties vary according to the types of crimes. Whoever broadcasts or publishes, by any means, false or malicious news, statement, or rumor, or the like, with the intent to carry out a terrorist crime, shall face penalties as per article 44 of the Law on Combating Terrorism Crimes and its Financing. The penalties include imprisonment for a period ranging between one and five years.

Article 43 of the law stipulates that the penalty shall be imprisonment for a period ranging between five and 20 years. Anyone who produces, prepares, sends, or stores material that may undermine law and order, religious values, public morals, or the sanctity of private life through the information network or a computer shall be imprisoned for a maximum period of five years and a fine not exceeding SR3 million, or one of these two penalties.

Article Six of the Anti-Cybercrime Law affirms that every person who commits any of the information crimes, including the creation of materials and data related to pornographic networks shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding SR3million or of both.

Article 1 of the Anti-Harassment Law defines the crime as every saying, act, or sign of sexual significance, issued by a person towards any other person, in terms of touching his body or honor, or offends his modesty, by any means, including modern technology. Article 6 of the law affirmed that violators of the the law, shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, and a fine not exceeding SR100,000, or one of these two penalties.

The penalty shall be doubled by imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, and a fine not exceeding SR300,000 or one of these two penalties, in the event of repeting the crime or in the event of the victim is a child, or if both the perpetrator and the victim are of the same gender.

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As per article 15 of the executive regulations for electronic publishing activity, it is prohibited to publish everything that contradicts the provisions of Islamic law or the laws in force, just as it is not permissible to publish anything that calls for a breach of the security of the country or its public order. It is not permissible to publish anything that incites the commission of crimes or incites strife or hatred, or spreading obscenity, or spreading a spirit of discord among members of society. It is not permissible to publish advertisements that include materials that may mislead the consumer.

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