You’re hanging out on the street and you see a famous actor riding a car with a senior government official. You take out your phone, snap a photo of them and post it online.
A news media website picks up your photo, publishes a story on their website, linking the story to earlier news of the celebrity’s connection to the senior government official, and shares it on social media platforms.
The story finds its way to the government official in the photo. He files a lawsuit, as is his right under the provisions of the cybercrime law, which was ratified by the president on August 18.
First: You will be prosecuted for publishing a personal photo without the consent of the person in it. You can now be punished, in accordance with the cybercrime law, with a minimum of six-month prison term and/or a fine ranging between LE50,000 and LE100,000. The editor, developer and host of the news media website, as well as the social media officer running its accounts – whether that officer works directly for the media outlet or for a third party service provider – will also face the charge of “facilitating a crime punishable by law;” liable to no less than two years in prison and/or a fine ranging between LE20,000 and LE200,000.
What if the investigators find that your internet service provider (ISP) did not collect and retain your browsing data, traffic data and traffic content for the past 180 days? Or that the company hosting the media website did not collect the same information about the website editors? These two companies are now liable to a fine of at least LE5 million and up to LE10 million, and they may lose their licenses to operate in Egypt.
This is an example to illustrate the multiple parties that stand subject to prosecution, under the new cybercrime law, for an everyday act like publishing a photo of a celebrity or public figure in a public place. The law – passed to “protect citizens and safeguard their freedom,” according to head of Parliament’s Communications and Information Technology Committee Nidal al-Saeed – defines a broad scope of penalties that apply to a wide range of persons.
Mada Masr has developed this guide to make sense of how this law will affect our daily activities — whether as casual internet users or as telecom and information technology (IT) professionals who work in web development, system administration, hosting, digital marketing, information security or online journalism.
As a casual user
As a service provider
As a digital security expert
As a web, account, email or information system administrator
If you are a government employee
Conciliation for punishable offenses
Illustrations by Mo Mohsen.
Hassan al-Azhari, a lawyer, reviewed the legal content in this guide.
Illustrations by Mo Mohsen.
Hassan al-Azhari, a lawyer, reviewed the legal content in this guide