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It Concerns You makes a new appeal

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 9
NGOs uniting under the public campaign It Concerns You, including the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Transparency International Georgia, and ISFED, have made a joint statement regarding the recent statement of the government concerning the creation of a temporary inter-structure working group in terms of personal information protection.

According to official information, the group would unite representatives from the interior and justice ministries, as well as representatives from the Prosecutor’s Office. The official statement also reads that the public sector should also be involved in the process for suggesting the best models for personal data protection.

NGOs stress that the working group at the Parliament’s Justice Committee has carried out intensive work with the Interior Ministry, with local and foreign NGOs for the bill drafted by the NGOs and approved by the Justice Committee to maximally meet with international standards.

“We hope that the group that is being created in the government will assist in the implementation of the draft when it is confirmed. Otherwise, it is unclear why the group is being created. If the government distances itself from the parliament’s activities, there would be doubts that the law-enforcers will try to lengthen the process and disrupt the adoption of timely changes in terms of personal data protection,” the NGOs stated, and appealed the Parliament to continue the process in a non-stop regime.

Vice Speaker Manana Kobakhidze states that the situation under the new government varies from the one under the United National Movement (UNM).

“The government’s attitude towards this issue was clearly demonstrated when the Ministry of Internal Affairs exposed the secret recordings. Illegal secret recordings were destroyed by participation of civil society. This was our political will. We are working with NGOs to make the law more sophisticated in this regard. It is not right to say that everybody is being wire tapped. It would be better to hold similar campaign before 2012 when everybody was really being eavesdropped upon. I do not remember It Concerns You before 2012, when we all had this problem,” Kobakhidze said.

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and Transparency International Georgia responded to Kobakhidze’s statement. The NGOs stated that they had actively worked on personal data protection issues before 2012 as well and even won several trials.

The Movement It Concerns You was launched in 2012. The recent demands of the movement are related to changes in the law that will ensure personal data protection. For instance: 1. Create an effective system that will provide high standards in the investigation of crimes and rule out possibilities to obtain personal information about ordinary citizens by law enforcement authorities in an arbitrary manner and without any justification. 2. Allow surveillance only against certain individuals and when certain crimes are involved (grave and particularly grave crimes). 3. Determine maximum duration of secret surveillance in order to rule out its abuse or its use for excessively long periods of time, also, to provide effective regulations for keeping and destroying secret surveillance records; 4. Create independent mechanisms for monitoring secret surveillance, increase supervising powers of court and other responsible authorities.