By Beatrice Thomas
Proposed cybercrime laws are described as the first of their type in the Arab world
Hackers could face up to 10 years behind bars and fines up to BD300,000 ($795,714) in Bahrain under a new cybercrime law, it was reported.
Described as the first law of its type introduced in the Arab world, the Information Technology Bill has already been approved by parliament and will be implemented as soon as the Shoura Council approves it, Gulf Daily News reported.
In a breakdown of penalties to be discussed by the council, a BD30,000 fine is proposed for those who gain unauthorised access to computer systems.
People who deliberately hack into networks with the purpose of destroying them or damaging information will also face up to three years in prison or a fine of BD50,000, or both.
However, the imprisonment will increase to seven years and BD300,000 fine, or both if the offence is serious.
The same sentence will apply if the offender intentionally threatens public safety, tampers with medical reports or leads to people’s deaths.
Shura Council foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairman Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa told the Gulf Daily News that cybercrimes were on the rise across the world.
“There are large number of crimes, mainly financial, using the Internet, and according to information provided by the Central Bank of Bahrain there are 17,000 financial crimes per second worldwide that are being done using computer systems and programmes,” he was quoted as saying.
Al Khalifa said the law had been delayed for more than two years because “we wanted something strong that matches developments in criminology and even when the law gets approved it will require continuous updates through amendments”.
Central Informatics Organisation representative Ahmed Jaber Al Dossary told the council Bahrain adopted most of the Bill’s principles from the European Convention on Cyber Crime.
Under the proposed law, people who produced terror-related information on the internet that threatened national security, or damaged people’s reputation would receive up to three years in jail, fined up to BD100,000 or both.
Other penalties apply to people who destroy, delete, change or tamper with data in any computer network, take part in embezzlement, theft and blackmail through cyber communication or produce or broadcast pornography.