Kuwait To Jail Camera Phone Abusers

Looks like Kuwait is going ahead with outlawing taking pictures of other people with cameraphones without their consent. An AFP story out of Kuwait today (no URL available yet) says a Kuwaiti parliamentary panel has “approved government proposed legislation laying down jail terms for people using Bluetooth technology in mobile phones to take or circulate pictures without the subject’s consent or for sexual blackmail”:

According to the bill, people who use the technology to take pictures of others without consent face up to two years in prison or a fine of 6,800 dollars. Those who use it to circulate such pictures face five years jail while using Bluetooth pictures to blackmail others into adultery carries a penalty of 10 years in prison, Tabtabai said.

As engadget pointed out last year when this first popped up, it’s far from clear where Bluetooth comes into all this. But all this may not sound quite as reactionary as has been portrayed. (I’ve referred to the issue before, but don’t claim to fully comprehend the background to this.) One Kuwaiti who posted to that story says the law

has three sections, the first one is concerned with taking pictures (I’d say 90% of people here have phones with cameras) of others without their consent. The second one is related to sending indecent/pornographic/inapproperiate material to others via bluetooth. And the third is concerned with doing any of the first two and extort/threaten others. But they do refer to it as the bluetooth law though.

Another poster suggests:

What was happening is that many Kuwaiti have abused Bluetooth, by sending pornographic (even kiddy porn) images and videos to other people surronding them. In addition to that, it has been used to threaten individuals (if you don’t shutup, I’m going to send this little video of yours all over!).

AFP says the legislation will be effective after it is approved by parliament and signed by the emir.

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All opinions are my own, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters.

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