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Ignorance of Cybercrime Law not an excuse: Col Al-Habib – ‘Violators will be held responsible’

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 6: Director of Cybercrimes Investigation Department at the Interior Ministry Colonel Yusuf Al-Habib has reiterated that the Cybercrime Law ratified by the Parliament will be implemented starting from Jan 12, 2016. This came after the publication of the law in official local newspapers on July 7, 2015.

The concerned authorities have affirmed continuous follow-up to ensure strict compliance with the law in a bid to curb cybercrimes and bring offenders to justice. In a press statement, Al-Habib revealed the Public Relations and Security Media Department has been conducting public awareness campaigns to introduce the law and inform the public about it. He said the department uses various mass media platforms; including daily newspapers, radio and television, as well as security programs and social communication websites, and the official website of the ministry. He pointed out that “ignorance of the law is not an excuse”, hence, anyone who violates it will be held responsible for his or her action.

The law covers different types of cybercrimes and the corresponding penalties as follows: Anyone who obtains illegal access to computers and information systems or networks shall be jailed up to six months and fined KD 500 to KD 2,000 or one of these penalties. It also states that illegal access resulting in the cancellation, deletion, destruction, and change or republication of data or information will attract penalty of two years imprisonment and fine of KD 2,000 to KD 5,000 or one of the two punishments.

In case of illegal access related to acquiring confidential personal/government data or information, the violator will be sentenced to three years in prison and fined KD 3,000 to KD 10,000 or both penalties. Anyone who acquires such data or information with the intention of erasing or destroying or publishing or amending it will face up to 10 years in prison and fined KD 5,000 to KD 20,000 or one of the two penalties. If anyone forges or damages or destroys an electronic system or website, he or she will face jail term not exceeding three years and fine of KD 3,000 to KD 10,000 or one of the two.

The law also includes crimes of distorting or damaging electronic document related to medical tests or diagnosis or physical therapy. This crime will be subjected to punishment not exceeding three years in jail and fine of KD 3,000 to KD 10,000 or one of these penalties.

Crimes concerning cyber intimidation or any kind of blackmail to dissuade or persuade victims will attract jail term not exceeding three years and fine of KD 3,000 to KD 10,000 or one of the two penalties. If anyone creates a website for a terrorist organization or a terrorist to post information on making of bombs or explosives, he or she will face up to 10 years in jail and fined KD 20,000 to 50,000. Crimes related to money laundering will be penalized by a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and fine ranging between KD 20,000 and KD 50,000 or one of these penalties. Perpetrators of crimes related to conspiracy to topple the regime will be subjected to a maximum of 10 years in prison; while crimes related to creating websites for or promoting human trafficking will receive a maximum of seven years imprisonment and fine between KD 10,000 and KD 30,000.

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