Jordan: Modified New Information Systems Crime Law Launched

After calls from many important Jordanian internet news publishing organizations, the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists مركز حماية وحرية الصحفيين, human rights groups, media and legal activists, as well as individuals concerned with censorship issues and freedom of speech and expression, some important modifications have occurred to Jordan's new first-of-its-kind Information Systems Crime Law قانون جرائم انظمة المعلومات summarized in this Aramram Feature.

Filling a Legal Vacuum

Prior to this piece of legislation, no law or legal framework had existed to specifically deal with “cyber crime”, including issues relating to child pornography, exploitation of mentally or emotionally disabled persons, and spreading of information designed to harm Jordanian economic and political interests.

The initial framework was intended to create a legal basis for dealing with all issues related to criminal activity specifically based on the web. However, civil watchdog groups reacted to the initial powers granted by the first draft (such as search of premises and computers without a warrant) and demanded clarifications so that the newly created powers would not be misconstrued and misused to target news sites and the free expression of ideas.

Full Spectrum Reactions

Reactions to the new law have been mixed. Some see it as a step backwards, such as this Aramram user writing as Anti-7afartalism, commenting on the Aramram site regarding the above video:

hadi el qawaneen el jdeede 7atat el urdunn fee qa2emet el dowal el mota5alefe o a3da2 el internet b3d ma innu el urdun mn asr3 edwal ele intshar el internet feha o atwal shari3 lal internet cafe kan 3ala ginis ….y3ni el wa7ad badal ma yitawrr 3m berja3 la wara o hai el fdee7a weslat lal Washington Post !!! la2eno el urdun m3roof 3nha inha the most free arab country fa keef beseer hada el 7aki!!!

This new law puts Jordan on the list of backward states hostile to the internet after Jordan was one of the countries in which the internet spread the quickest and the longest street of internet cafes in Guinness World Records…Instead of developing, we are regressing and this scandal reached the ‘Washington Post'!!! Because Jordan is known as ‘the most free Arab country’ so how can this even happen!!!

However after the adjustments, others are waiting to see and spreading news of the ammendments via twitter. noor JoJo (nrbi2) tweets:

أهم التعديلات على قانون جرائم انظمة المعلومات المؤقت .. ونص القانون بصيغته النهائية… via @AddThis .. eli b7b yeqr2

Important modifications to the Provisional Information Systems Crime Law…and the text of the law in its final form…

abeeryarmouk also tweets: الأردن/ نقيب المحامين : تعديلات قانون جرائم انظمة المعلومات انهت الجدل الدائر حوله

Jordan/President of the Bar Association: Modifications to the Information Systems Crime Law end the controversy around it

and SamirKassireyes tweets:

الحكومة الاردنية تعدّل قانون “جرائم أنظمة المعلومات” بعد انتقادات وضغوط محلية

The Jordanian government amends “Information Systems Crime” Law after local criticism and pressure

Government response to Criticism and Pressure

Some see the receptiveness of the government to creating changes in the law in reaction to activism as a positive step in building relations between the internet community and the law. Blogging on, Rani Dababneh writes:

In reference to [Jordanian Bloggers Meet the Minister of ICT on first Cyber Crime draft Law in Jordan], we got notified that Cabinet approved the Information Systems Crime Law of 2010 on Aug 3, which will take effect after 30 days of issuance. Information Systems / Cyber Crime Law, and Reasons Thereof are below in Arabic: [English Version will be provided soon]

UPDATE: Jordan Government, on August 29, endorsed the final draft of the Information Systems Crime Law (Cyber Crime Law) after ammending several parts of the legislation that drew controversy and criticism from various human rights and media activists.

From his blog at, Osama Romoh أسامة الرمح also shares the view that the government's inclusion of bloggers in the process and their willingness to listen to the concerns of civil liberties groups is a positive step. He writes:

في نقطة رابحة تُضاف إلى رصيد المدوّنين الأردنيين والمدونات الأردنية للإعتراف الرسمي بهم، قامت وزارة الاتصالات وتكنولوجيا المعلومات بإشراك عدد من المدونين في مناقشة مسودّة قانون الجرائم الالكترونية

In another winning point added to the score of Jordanian bloggers towards official recognition, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology involved a number of bloggers in the debate around the draft of the Information Systems Crime Law

The blog Radical Justice العدالة الراديكالية carries the full text of the final version of the new law as well as the specifics of the changes that were called for by public pressure.

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