The government continues to promote internet use as a tool for economic development and e-government services, where it is ahead of many countries in the region.
Mobile broadband penetration continued to increase and Saudis remained some of the most active social media users in the world.
Repression has been institutionalized under antiterrorism and cybercrime laws that have instilled fear into activists and ordinary social media users alike.
Several well-known activists were sentenced to 8–10 years in prison over the past year, while ordinary citizens and migrant workers were also targeted for smaller online crimes.
But the country’s highly centralized internet infrastructure facilitates state censorship, and restrictions on Voice-over-IP (Vo IP) increase economic barriers for communication between Saudis and the outside world.
The internet is the least repressive space for expression in the country.
While Kuwait has not joined the Arab Spring wave, there is considerable political and social turmoil in the tiny emirate.
The turmoil is, for the most part, contained within the framework of Kuwait’s indigenous democratic institutions but the lines that used to clearly delineate acceptable public norms of speech and action are becoming increasingly blurred.
Hence a person could be charged on this federal penal code, or under a local (emirate) penal code.
Despite the penal code's mention of a death penalty, executions for same-sex sexual conduct have not been implemented in the country.
Punishments range from jail time, fines, and deportation.
Adultery and fornication are also crimes, and a person convicted of homosexuality may also face charges of adultery if they have a spouse while having sexual relations with a person of the same sex.
Article 80 of the Abu Dhabi Penal Code makes sodomy punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years.