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Posted On: 18 March 2017 02:01 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:17 pm

Qatar strengthens privacy protection with new Penal Code amendment

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Updated amendments to Article 333 of Qatar’s Penal Code (Law 11 of 2004) governing the legal implications and penalties of breach of privacy without consent came into effect on March 9, 2017 as His Highness The Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issued Law No. 4 of 2017, in revision of the original clause.

According to the Gulf Times, while the new law now makes taking or sharing photos and videos of accident victims a punishable offense, it also pertains to other areas of personal privacy violation that could have a far-reaching impact in an age of social media. ILQ obtained a transcript outlining the changes and have conducted an unofficial translation of its contents:


(Photo Source: Arabian Business)

‘There are changes to Law 11 of 2004. It is being exchanged/amended with Subject 333 below:

A person will be punished for up to 2 years in jail and made to pay a fine of QR 10,000 if they invade/attack someone’s privacy without consent as pertaining of the law.

These include:

1. Opening other people’s mail

2. Eavesdropping/tapping into others’ phone conversations

3. Recording and spreading private conversations carried out in private spaces by any device.

4. Taking photos and videos of a person or people in a private setting by any device.

The person will be penalized if they also use these photos and videos with the intention of harm and damaging the reputation/name of people.

They will also be penalized if they spread photos of people who have been injured or killed in accidents, except when allowed by the law.’

These new stipulations to the law have seen the maximum fine for their violation double from QR 5,000 to QR 10,000 and jail term increase from one year, to two years.

These latest changes to Article 333 of the Qatar Penal Code come on the heels of legislation passed in the last three years that are aimed at protecting individual privacy and personal online data. This includes Law No. 13 of 2016 on the protection of personal data privacy, and the Cyber Crime Law (Law 14 of 2014).

For a full English transcript of the original Penal Code (Law 11 of 2004) click here.

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