GOVERNMENT’S AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW ON ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION PRESENT A DANGER FOR CITIZENS’ CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND THEIR PRIVACY
Politiscope sent amendments to the Law on Electronic communication to members of the Croatian parliament, since neither Government’s proposal nor opposition amendments sufficiently guaranteed privacy, security and constitutional rights of Croatian citizens. With the changes proposed by the Government, ministers would, in extraordinary circumstances, be granted the right to issue requests to telecommunication providers to process the geolocation data of citizens’ mobile phones. Any processing of potentially very sensitive data must be temporary, proportionate, transparent and necessary to achieve the purpose. Therefore, the fundamental rights of citizens need additional protection in the proposed changes to the law.
Politiscope proposed that the minister’s request on the processing of location data should be limited to a period of maximum 30 days. The minister could issue new requests for processing of data, thus prolonging the time period, if such a need would arise at all. If a request demands processing of the location of all citizens in a certain geographic area, there would be an obligation to generalize location data to the level of the city district or local unit. Finally, Politiscope suggested introducing an explicit ban of profiling the data subjects based on the collected location data.
Politiscope’s proposal also includes useful amendments submitted by the Ombudsman and the Social-Democratic Party, such as: the obligation to define the categories of data subjects, the time period of data processing, the obligation to inform data subjects about data processing, the obligation to destroy collected data within 30 days in case of non-initiation of an appropriate procedure, explicit statement that the relevant civil protection institution is solely responsible for data processing, the obligation to inform the competent authorities about the actions taken.
Politiscope calls on members of the Croatian Parliament to adopt submitted amendments, and thus protect the constitutional rights of Croatian citizens and their data protection rights, safeguarded by the General Data Protection Regulation.
Photo: Electronic Frontier Foundation