Saudi Arabia eyes combating cybercrime, official says at UN

Saudi Arabia has said it is important to consider ways to adopt international legislation to combat cybercrime. The Kingdom’s delegate made this point during a speech at the general debate on combating the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for criminal purposes, which was held at the UN headquarters in New York.

Mohammed bin Essam Khashan, third secretary of the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to the UN, said that the Kingdom passed a law against cybercrimes two years ago that regulates the use of technology and communication by protecting individuals from any attempt to hack into their personal identification and steal their personal information.

The law protects against crimes of extortion, defamation and racist abuse, and also protects companies from any attempt to hack into their websites or change their content, he said.

Khashan said that there are obstacles facing the Kingdom in combating the use of ICT for criminal purposes, as the weak cooperation of digital platform companies with legal and law enforcement authorities around the world has led to a lack of preventive and proactive policies.

He also noted that the absence of digital identity in the virtual world, the use of identifiers, fictitious data and the impersonation of other persons on the internet, as well as the multiplicity and diversity of legislation and laws adopted by various countries have made it harder to reach and enforce legal action.

“All of the above made it easier for the perpetrators of these crimes to exploit the legal gaps between regions and states, and made it difficult for governments and security agencies to track and arrest them,” he added.

“My country believes that it is necessary to urge countries to establish internal laws that take into account privacy and national sovereignty, on one hand, and contribute to the fight against cybercrime and the tracking of criminals at the regional and international level, on the other hand,” he said.

He said: “My country greatly supports the transition to digitization in various fields, where it does so by eliminating paperwork in government departments, and by establishing effective electronic platforms to provide services to individuals and companies. The Kingdom believes that the exchange of conventional currencies with digital currencies makes it easier for criminal and terrorist groups to hide many of their financial transactions on the internet, as there is no current legal framework that regulates these financial transactions and ensures that their movements are monitored.

“For any laws that are legislated or applied in the real world, it is necessary to create the equivalent in the virtual world. We, the international community, through the relevant agencies should increase cooperation and support all efforts to do so, by raising awareness of communities regarding the safe use of technology, highlighting the methods used by criminal and terrorist groups active on the internet, and working hard to develop the competencies and qualifications of information security workers through dedicated training programs,” he said.

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