The Personal Data of the Citizens Crossing the RA Border Checkpoints are Transferred to Russia. Experts
There are reasonable grounds for assuming that the Russian Federal Security Service has unimpeded access to the personal data of all the citizens crossing the RA border. Daniel Ioannisyan, the Program coordinator of the "Informed citizens of the Union" NGO, said this at the Media Center on December 5.

Ashot Melikyan, Chairman of the Committee for Protection of Freedom of Speech, also participated in the press conference, entitled "How secure are the personal data of the citizens crossing the RA border checkpoints?" The speakers spoke about the transfer of the personal data of all the citizens who cross the RA border checkpoints by the National Security Service to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.

Border Management Information System (BMIS) has launched in the Republic of Armenia since 2006. This system is a database, which contains data on the citizens and vehicles crossing the border checkpoints of the Republic of Armenia. "The point is that the government decision No. 884 of 2006 clearly states the authorities that can use the BMIS system. The list includes a number of state agencies, law enforcement and executive branches of power," the speaker said.

As the speaker said, the problem arose when there was an exposure of the passports scans of the US diplomats conducting a mission in Armenia in August this year. "Then we revealed that Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation also has the right to use the BMIS system," he said, adding that the Russian FSS Border Troops conduct a service in the Meghri checkpoint and the Armenian-Turkish border based on the contract between Armenia and Russia "On the status and terms of activities of the Russian border Guard in the territory of Armenia” signed in 1992.

“It is noteworthy that according to that contract the Russian FSS border guards should not fulfill a service at the “Zvartnots” airport but they do. And this is regulated by no means," he added. According to him, the Armenian National Security Service’s response makes it clear that the Russian FSS border department was provided an access to the BMIS system. "In other words, due to the access permission of the National Security Service, the Russian FSS has all the information about all the people crossing the border of Armenia, in particular who crossed, when, which checkpoint and in which direction, in what vehicle and with whom," Daniel Ioannisyan said, adding that this is unacceptable.

However, Ashot Melikyan countered the speaker, noting that according to the "Law on Personal Data Protection" those data can be transferred to the other State. "According to the "Law on Personal Data Protection" personal information can be transferred to another state without the permission of the competent authority if that state has an adequate level of personal data protection," he said.

He raised a question whether a sufficient level of protection of personal data existed in Russia, and he responded, "It's hard to say."

“"Law on Personal Data Protection has the following clause that data may be transferred if the data are adequately protected in that state. But in August we saw the scanned passports were revealed. Russia did not deny it... We tried to find out from the NSS, if they have the right to read the information, we received a response that they have the right to use the system. So, it is assumed that reading is also permitted,” Daniel Ioannisyan said. 

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to [email protected].

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