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    Saudi Religious Police Hack 'Twitter Porno Accounts'

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    The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice takes a swipe at internet pornography, drunkenness, gambling and vice in the Kingdom.

    MOSCOW, December 31 (Sputnik) – A clampdown on vice in Saudi Arabia has resulted in the closing down of almost 9,000 Twitter accounts claimed to have been used to distribute pornography, Emirates 24/7 reported on Tuesday.

    "The Commission members have succeeded in hacking Twitter porno accounts, shutting them and arresting some of their owners over the past period,” a spokesman from the Kingdom's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) told the news portal.

    The spokesman added that in the course of the "crackdown on vice," Saudis and expatriates in the kingdom have been arrested after raids on "booze parties, vice and gambling."

    The news follows a similar announcement earlier this month that Haia had shut down 10,117 Twitter accounts in the course of 2014 due to various "religious and ethical violations", according to a report from Arab News, which revealed that cybercrime under Saudi law is punishable by prison sentences exceeding five years, and fines of up to SR3 million ($800,000).

    Joseph Al-Qaeda
    © Photo : Photo taken from Joseph Al-Qaeda Twitter
    A spokesman for Haia told the newspaper that its IT crime department was behind the crackdown on the Twitter accounts. "Our unit is divided into two sections: The first receives reports and complaints from citizens and residents and the second one monitors and does follow-up operations through websites and software applications," he explained.

    On Thursday Arab News reported the launch of a new initiative from Haia, in the form of its online Electronic Horizon Training, which offers officials instruction in dealing with criminal matters including extortion, liquor and "security intellectual skills." A Commission representative announced at the event that 21,000 of its members had recently undergone extra training in response to new challenges facing law enforcement.

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