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Bahrain Shura Council Approves Law To Curb AI Abuse

In the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the line between protector and intruder can be as thin as a silicon chip.

Acknowledging this delicate balance, the Shura Council ratified yesterday a report from the Committee on Legislative and Legal Affairs endorsing a draft law to regulate AI technologies and their uses.

The report was submitted by MPs Ali Hussein Al-Shehabi, Jamal Fakhro, Dr. Jihad Al-Fadhel, Dr. Mohammed Ali Hassan, and Dalal Al-Zayed.

The draft law garnered unanimous approval, save for the dissent of member H.E. Bassam Albinmohamed.

According to the committee, the proposed penalties include a maximum fine of BD2,000 for individuals who program, process, or introduce AI in a manner that violates individual liberty, invades the sanctity of private life, or undermines societal traditions.

The penalties also encompass imprisonment and a fine ranging from BD5,000 to BD2,000 for individuals who design software or technology that promotes division among people. Furthermore, the penalties extend to those who manipulate official statements and create malicious fake visual and audio content.

The establishment of an artificial intelligence unit, as outlined in the proposal, is a nod to the necessity of oversight in an era where autonomy is the watchword of every device.

Yet, it is a form of oversight that does not stifle innovation but rather ensures its congruence with the societal tapestry, woven over centuries and delicate in its composition.

Relentless evolution

“Regulating AI is among the most formidable challenges for legislators, owing to its relentless evolution and its susceptibility to external influences,” MP Dalal said.

“The law comes at a critical time when the race to regulate AI has already begun,” said member Dr. Jameela AlSalman. Dr. Jameela emphasised the importance of sophisticated evaluation when penalising AI misuse, taking into account the various stages that culminate in adverse outcomes, the sources processed and interpreted by AI, and the calibration of penalties to reflect these nuances.

Fundamental intent

MP Bassam Albinmohamed expressed concurrence with the fundamental intent of the proposed law but voiced reservations regarding its implementation.

He emphasised the importance of considering Bahrain’s role as either a consumer or a producer of AI technologies when crafting legislation. “Given our nation’s modest size, we may lack bargaining power when engaging with technology providers.

Therefore, it is imperative that we collaborate as a unified front with other Gulf states that share our values, akin to the European Union’s approach,” MP Bassam said.


Addressing the Council, MP Redha Faraj drew attention to the challenges posed by AI in data harvesting and storage, stressing the importance of maintaining human dominion over the most pivotal and decisive domains of our existence, such as healthcare, criminal justice, and the conduct of warfare.

He also mentioned that “it is crucial to assess intellectual property rights holders in AI outcomes, particularly in matters of invention and patent.”

Furthermore, he suggested that “we should investigate the adverse effects of Artificial Intelligence on employment and devise solutions for jobs that are being replaced by AI.”

Rapid advancement

During the sixth Arab Parliament Conference, H.E.

Ali Saleh Al Saleh addressed the rapid advancement of AI, emphasising that “such technologies, whilst brimming with potential, it is crucial to recognise that their deployment without considering their negative effects on humanity can lead to harmful consequences.”

The proposed law also ensures that those harmed by the use of artificial intelligence have the right to request compensation for the damage they have suffered, even if multiple people are responsible for compensation.

It holds the owner of the robot or programmed machine responsible for compensating for any damage caused by AI technologies.

Moreover, the proposed law dedicates an entire chapter to administrative and criminal penalties.


The Artificial Intelligence Unit is granted the authority to impose administrative penalties on licensed violators, ranging from a warning to license withdrawal and progressive administrative fines based on the severity of the violation.

The law also details criminal penalties to uphold the principle of the legality of crimes and their applications. This draft law is not merely about setting boundaries; it is about creating a sandbox where AI can play but not bully, where it can serve but not enslave.

It is about ensuring that the robots of tomorrow do not overshadow the human values of today


News Of Bahrain

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