New law obligates telecom companies to protect customer information

Up to SR25 million fine for violators

June 09, 2022

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — The new Communications and Information Technology (CIT) Law, recently approved by the Council of Ministers, obliges service providers and digital content platforms to conclude agreements between them to ensure the protection of cybersecurity and critical infrastructure, according to the Saudi National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA).

The NCA warned against committing violations that may lead to the suspension of the license of the service provider or a fine amounting to SR25 million. The law laid down necessary measures to ensure protection of user information and the confidentiality of calls.

The law stipulates that the service provider is obligated to take all necessary measures and make arrangements to ensure the protection of the confidentiality of the user’s personal information and documents and not to disclose them except with the consent of the latter. The service provider has to inform the user immediately about this if his information and documents have been compromised in any way, and to take the necessary measures to protect them.

The law emphasizes that the NCA is responsible for framing the necessary controls and rules for announcing, promoting or amending price tariffs, or entering into agreements with a service provider outside the Kingdom to provide international roaming or any other service, or to establish, sell, or promote or use calling cards.

The law also stipulates the confidentiality of telephone calls and information sent or received through public telecommunication networks, and may not be viewed, listened to, or recorded except in cases specified by the regulations.

The law also cautions against violations that lead to punishment, including the possession, sale, lease, manufacture, production or circulation of any device, hardware, tool, service, system, program, or the like, related to telecommunications or information technology that does not comply either with the approved technical specifications and standards or with the requirements and controls set by the authority.

Under the law, it is also punishable if anyone engages in any practice that undermines competition in the CIT sector, or damages, infringes or cuts telecommunication networks, or benefits from them in illegal ways, or disrupts communications or prevents the exchange of information in general.

Penalties will be slapped in the event of committing these crimes either intentionally or negligently, or possessing any CIT devices without obtaining the necessary license.

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