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19 Aug 2018 | 02:55 AM UTC

Egypt: President al-Sisi signs “cybercrime” law August 18

Egypt approves new law blocking access to websites that “constitute a threat” to the state August 18; avoid visiting potentially offensive websites

communications/technology
legal
EGY

Event

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi signed a "cybercrime" law on Saturday, August 18, allowing authorities to block websites which "constitute a threat" to the country's economic and national security interests. In addition, the law stipulates new penalties for those who visit the websites intentionally or accidentally "without a valid reason." Critics claim the new law allows state-sanctioned repression of freedom of speech.

Context

Egyptian authorities have cracked down on political dissent - accusing such individuals of terrorism or sedition - since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi assumed power in 2014.

Egypt remains under a state of emergency, originally declared following Islamic State (IS) attacks on churches in Alexandria and Tanta that killed some 50 people on Palm Sunday in April 2017.

Advice

Individuals in Egypt are advised to avoid visiting controversial websites or discussing contentious political topics in public or on the Internet and social media (particularly related to the military and police) and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.

In general, due to the prevailing threat of terrorism, individuals throughout Egypt should report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities and always be on guard when visiting sites deemed particularly vulnerable to an attack (e.g. public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners, festivals, etc.). Some governments advise their nationals against all travel to the Sinai Peninsula due to the persistent terrorist threat.

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