Saudi Police Expands its App For Harassment, Human Trafficking, Cybercrimes

Saudi Arabia’s Public Security Department has launched a new version of its app “Kolonna Amn” (We are all security) with added features such as reporting harassment, human trafficking and cybercrimes.

Experts believe that the inclusion of these crimes in the app will serve as a deterrent.

Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Fawzan, who is a sociologist and secretary-general of King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND), said that every society had its own value system.

“It is the responsibility of any political system to protect that value system and people and prevent them from infringing on other members of a society’s rights,” he told Arab News.

Cybercrimes include infringing on an individual’s personal life, identity theft, blackmail, hacking social media accounts, defamation, fraud, verbal abuse, and stalking; human trafficking crimes include forced labor, sex trafficking, begging, transporting and smuggling foreigners, and practices similar to slavery and organ trafficking.

Khaled Abu Rashed, a Saudi lawyer, said that adding these crimes to the app was important.

He said it is necessary to report a crime without any delay to set the authorities in motion against perpetrators.

Abu Rashed said: “Harassment, for example, takes place in a split second and is hard to prove. However, recording and reporting the incident is an important legal step to protect rights.”

Al-Fawzan said the addition of new crimes to the app will help law-enforcement agencies fight all sorts of crimes in an effective manner that will help make society more secure.

Welcoming the inclusion of harassment in the app, he said to fight this crime we need to create awareness and enact clear-cut laws defining the term “harassment” and all actions that are considered harassment.

“It is a violation of the rights of an individual who is otherwise living in peace,” he said.

The sociologist said the Saudi society is experiencing dramatic changes at the social level. The fast pace of development necessitates new legislation to deal with situations that arise with rapid transformation.

Al-Fawzan called on all stakeholders to increase the level of awareness about crimes such as harassment, invasion of privacy, and human trafficking.

He said introducing special subjects to the education curriculum, concerted media campaigns and religious sermons could be used to raise awareness about these issues.

The KACND chief said ignorance about rules and regulations would not spare violators from punishment.

Al-Fawzan said: “Individuals should be aware that certain behavior may result in penalties.”

He said the new features will enable security agencies to respond swiftly and arrest violators. “It is the best use of technology to check the spread of crime.”

Abu Rashed said that Islamic Shariah ensured the protection of the rights of all members of society.

“Freedom is not unlimited and it does not mean infringing on the rights of others or abusing them verbally or physically,” the Saudi lawyer said.

He said the penalty of harassment could be up to two years in prison with a fine, and in some cases, it could reach up to five years in prison, in addition to the naming and shaming of violators to deter others from committing similar mistakes.

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