Cairo: Saudi Arabia has warned census employees against disclosing people’s data, saying the offence is punishable by jailing and fines.
The warning comes as the kingdom is conducting the fifth census in its history amid repeated calls on citizens and expatriates to participate in the effort.
Saudi public prosecution said that all data provided in the census are covered by secrecy and it is illegal to disclose them or misuse them for other purposes than those stipulated by law.
Any member of the statistics and census staff involved in disclosing any related data faces a maximum of three months in prison a fine of up SR1,000, according to the prosecution.
The 2022 census was launched across Saudi Arabia on May 10.
A self-enumeration system conducted via smartphones and computers is due to be halted later Wednesday and participation in the census will shift to house visits by field researchers.
Participation in the census is obligatory, authorities have said.
Saudi law has given the statistics agency power to impose fines on people who deliberately block census works, refrain from providing the required data, or furnish incorrect data.
However, the implementation mechanism restricts these fines, which are slapped within limitations, according to spokesman for the Saudi General Authority for Statistics Mohammad Al Dukhainy
The census aims to cover all people inside the kingdom to collect statistical data that help chart policies and future plans and tailor projects to people’s needs across the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia, a country of around 34.8 million people, has a large community of migrant workers.