Cabinet of Ministers move on creating a State Register of Personal Databases



The Cabinet of Ministers has approved Provisions on a State Register of Personal Database. The relevant Resolution, No. 616 which has just appeared on the government’s website is dated 25 May 2011.

The document instructs the State Service on Personal Data Protection Issues to take measures by 1 July this year to create a Register and ensure the input of personal databases onto it. Registration will be carried out according following consideration of applications from the database owners.  The State Service on Personal Data Protection Issues is in charge of creating and keeping the register.

The Law on Personal Data Protection came into force on 1 January 2011.  The President had ignored calls from human rights, media and business organizations to veto the bill which could restrict freedom of speech.

Just this month the Media Law Institute issued a statement expressing grave concern over a new and highly dangerous law.  “On 2 June 2011 the Verkhovna Rada passed a Law with Amendments to Some Legislative Acts regarding Infringements of Legislation on Personal Data Protection. This Law significantly increases criminal liability for the circulation of confidential information about a person of up to 5 years imprisonment. This article could be used in the first instance to prosecute journalists”

The Media Law Institute stresses that there is serious concern over the law quality of the actual Law on Personal Data Protection.  It notes in particular the vagueness of provisions on registration of databases and of the very term “database”.  Rather than providing clear guidelines, the government is imposing penalties for failure to adhere to a law with dangerously unclear provisions.

“The Law passed by the Verkhovna Rada can easily be used to put pressure on any organization, for example, by stating that a system for registering staff has not been registered as a database. Or a fine could be imposed for there being an address book in a work mobile telephone which can be considered a database. When instead of explanations and clarification of a flawed law, the State sets to establishing strict liability, this in our opinion demonstrates the undemocratic nature of the regime”.

It is perhaps also worth noting that the Verkhovna Rada Office was reported yesterday to have refused to provide a journalist with copies of income declarations for National Deputies and their families.  The excuse given explains what kind of “personal data”, or more precisely, whose, the authorities are hoping to protect. “Although Article 6 of the Law on Access to Public Information stipulates that income declarations of National Deputies and members of their families do not constitute information on restricted access, these documents do contain personal data of members of their family and other information which the law has stated is information on restricted access”.

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