Georgian parliament gave final approval to the “wire-tapping” law
The Georgian parliament in the third and final reading with 87 votes against 2 approved the controversial law on hidden investigative measures.
The major news is a new agency that is to be established by the State Security Service (as a legal entity in public law), authorized to tap means of communications including the Web. The agency will respond to the parliament and the prime-minister, but will be a structural part of the SSS.
The law met sharp criticism on the part of opposition and NGOs – for keeping control over wire-tapping with SSS.
Eka Beselia, the head of the parliamentary judicial committee claims, the new law establishes the highest standard allowing to secure both the human rights and the national interests.
“We are introducing the security system that was tested in the leading countries in accordance with the Constitutional Court ruling”, Beselia said.
At the same time many among the parliamentary majority believe the law will be vetoed by President Georgi Margvelashvili, who had criticized it in the past. To overcome the veto the parliament will have to vote again.
Last April the Constitutional Court ruled, that access to private information on part of SSS poses a risk of interference into private life, thus supporting “It concerns you” campaign, launched by some NGOs. The court ruling obliged the parliament to bring the law in accord with the constitution until March 31, 2017.
The opposition parties and NGOs believe the new law contradicts the Constitution Court ruling. In January the NGOs representing “It concerns you” campaign refused to discuss it.
Wire-tapping regulations in Georgia:
- In 2014 after reforms in the Interior Ministry the State Security Service was established. The measure was criticized by NGOs for duplication of functions and lack of parliamentary control.
- On March 31, 2015 the “two keys system” was introduced, allowing wire-tapping only by both court ant inspector on personal data permission. But law enforcement agencies retained technical capacity for wire-tapping bypassing courts and inspectors.
- In April 2016 the Constitutional Court ruled, that SSS access to communication operators data is illegal. The court conceded, that the acting laws do not protect personal data in full measure.