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Kuwait MP accuses foreign embassies, telcos of bugging phones
March 6, 2014, 3:15 pm

Kuwait’s parliament has backed new laws to oversee the state’s telecommunications sector amid allegations by one MP that some foreign embassies and mobile operators were using bugging devices.

Under the law, Kuwait will establish a telecom and information technology commission that will takeover regulation of the sector from the communications ministry, Kuwait Times reported.

It will bring Kuwait in line with other Gulf states.

During debate over the law, Shiite MP Saleh Ashour reportedly said that he had evidence that a number of foreign embassies were bugging calls and that some mobile companies were doing the same.

He did not offer any names or provide further details to substantiate his claims, but claimed the spying was happening with the government’s knowledge.

Communications Minister Essa Al Kandari told Ashour to provide him with evidence, saying he would refer the issue to the public prosecution, The Times reported.

Under the new law, the telecom commission will have a nine-member board, including five experts in the field.

Breaches of the law could result in penalties of at least five years in jail and a maximum fine of KD50,000 ($177,612) for people using bugging devices, with the penalty doubled for those who use the devices to tap calls.

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