Ukraine’s Internet Association calls for veto of “biometric” law
A recent protest against the same law
The Executive Director of the Internet Association of Ukraine, V. Kukovsky has written to President Yanukovych asking him to veto the Law on a Unified State Demographic Register passed by the Verkhovna Rada on 2 October. This law, as reported, proposes a single register containing all kinds of information about each individual, as well as a biometric chip, signature. It also proposes introducing biometric data on some 13 different documents with the likely cost to the average Ukrainian being overwhelmingly great.
The Internet Association “believe that the Law directly contravenes Ukraine’s Constitution, international norms and standards regarding protection of privacy, as well as the obligations Ukraine has taken on before the European community. It also flagrantly violates fundamental rights and freedoms in view of the following:
1. The Law proposes the creation of a Unified State Demographic Register with an excessively broad range of confidential information about individuals. It does not, however, specify the aim of gathering the personal data and does not contain any grounds to believe that the new register is aimed at protecting the interests of national security, economic prosperity and human rights. The Law effectively introduces “the gathering, retention, use and circulation of confidential information about a person without his or her consent” which is directly prohibited by Article 32 of the Constitution. The Law’s entry into force would inevitably lead to an increase in the State’s influence over people’s private life. “
An electronic register in one database containing confidential information is a real threat to people’s rights.
The fact that the register would not serve one specific purpose, but a range of them (being used by different bodies) creates enormous scope for misuse of this information.
This can lead to the creation of a state with features of a totalitarian regime since it entails total surveillance of the individual by the state.
The Law makes no provision for people who are unwilling due to religious or other convictions to provide information for the register.
The letter notes that it is proposed that over 16 documents will have biometric data which is far in excess of any requirements under the Visa Liberalization Action Plan. The authors of the draft bill say that the implementation of the law will not require extra expenditure, yet fail to consider the huge financial burden it will pose to members of the public.
For the above reasons, the President is asked to use his power of veto against the law.