Registration of “databases” deferred until 1 July
Liability for failure to register all databases with the State Service on Personal Data Protection has been deferred until 1 July this year. From then on anybody found to have unregistered databases could face steep fines.
The Law introducing amendments to various other laws increasing penalties for breaches of the Personal Data Protection Act came into force on 1 January this year. That law had been adopted despite strongly voiced concern from media, human rights and business organizations over the seriously flawed and dangerous Personal Data Protection Act and lack of any real clarity as to what constituted a database, etc.
In June 2011 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”.