The Egyptian cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, approved on Tuesday a law that will protect personal data, which would impose penalties ranging from imprisonment to a fine for offenders.
Minister of Communication and Information Technology Amr Talaat announced the approval following a weekly cabinet meeting. The law will be forwarded to Parliament for discussion and the State Council for legal review.
The law secures personal data, which could be collected, processed, and disclosed by any means, but only after the approval of the concerned person or in cases authorised by law.
It further stipulates the establishment of the Centre for the Protection of Personal Data and will impose sanctions of imprisonment and a fine of not less than EGP 100,000.
The minister said that the bill aims to raise the levels of data security within the state and to organise transboundary movements and electronic marketing activities to control the process of electronic processing of personal data and to ensure the rights of citizens and comply with international legislation in this area.
In July, Parliament had already passed a controversial law allowing the state to supervise users of social networking sites. Parliament members have repeatedly called for legislation that would be dedicated only for putting limits for rumours on social media.
Furthermore, article 19 of the newly approved press and media law stipulates the Supreme Media Council has the authority to stop or block any personal website, blog, or social media account that has a high number of followers—exceeding 5,000—in case it commits a specific offence seen as publishing false news or advocating or inciting a violation of law or violence or hate.
This article will deal with these accounts or blogs as a media outlet, which is viewed as an attack on personal freedom of opinion and expression, which violates the Constitution.