“The Issue of Publishing the Personal Data of Voters: Legislative Regulations and Necessary Measures”
24.05.2017
11:00
The publication of the voters' passport data by the Central Election Commission makes controversy with the legislative regulation: Tatevik Tokhyan, Head of Civil, Social-Economic and Cultural Rights Protection Department of Staff of Human Rights Defender of Armenia, said this during the discussion at Media Center on May 24.

Samvel Martirosyan, Media Expert, and Daniel Ioannisyan, Program Coordinator of “Union of Informed Citizens” (UIC) NGO, also participated in the discussion entitled “The Issue of Publishing the Personal Data of Voters: Legislative Regulations and Necessary Measures”.
Tatevik Tokhyan says that a citizen applied to the Ombudsman and expressed his concern that during the parliamentary elections on April 2, 2017 when the lists of voters were published by the CEC, the passport data of citizens were also published.

“The citizen raised the issue of the legality of the publication of passport data. After receiving the complaint, administrative proceedings began withinin which we required explanations from the CEC,” Tokhyan said.As a reply, CEC clarified that the publication was legal as according to the Electoral Code, the signed lists of the voters should be published within 3 days.

As a reply, CEC clarified that the publication was legal as according to the Electoral Code, the signed lists of the voters should be published within 3 days.“As the period is short, all the columns of the lists are published and the CEC, as an implementer of the Electoral Code, considers it to be legal,” Tokhyan said.

“As the period is short, all the columns of the lists are published and the CEC, as an implementer of the Electoral Code, considers it to be legal,” Tokhyan said.Personal Data Protection Agency of the Ministry of Justice requested the CEC to remove the passport data of 4,000 voters from the website within three days, so they are not accessible to third parties. Personal Data Protection Agency stated that the publishing of personal data contradicts the Law on Protection of Personal Data.

Personal Data Protection Agency of the Ministry of Justice requested the CEC to remove the passport data of 4,000 voters from the website within three days, so they are not accessible to third parties. Personal Data Protection Agency stated that the publishing of personal data contradicts the Law on Protection of Personal Data.

“We also referred to the provisions of the Electoral Code that clearly stipulate that the published lists should contain the name, surname, address and signature of the voters. The passport data are not included, therefore the law does not require publishing the personal data and it is not legal to publish them,” Tokhyan said.Samvel Martirosyan says that the problem is wider.

Samvel Martirosyan says that the problem is wider.

“On the one hand, there is the democratic requirement to set control over the voters’ lists, on the other hand, the personal data have been open and available on CEC website for years, as well as on the Police website,” Martirosyan said.

He says that it is more dangerous and worse to publish the signatures than the passport data. 

“Finally, these 4000 people can go and change their passports as there was an outflow of data. By the way, it is also a problem that these people do not know that there was an outflow of their personal data. But the law requires an urgent notice,” Martirosyan said.
Speaking about the publishing of signatures, Martirosyan says that it also discloses the handwriting and all these make an opportunity identity fraud for different criminal groups.

“The birth date, the address, with whom he/she lives, signature ….everything exists to make identity frauds for different purposes. I realize that here a balance is necessary so I would propose to publish the signature in a blurry way,” Martirosyan said.

Daniel Ioannsiyan recalls that during “4+4+4” format discussions some NGOs emphasized that the signature should be visible.

“It was a separate subprovison of the discussion and one of the requirements was that the signatures should be visible. I personally do not think that the publishing of signatures is important and has a preventive significance. If the signature is blurry and only in the case of any doubt, it is possible for the observing organizations to have those signatures at CEC, it is a sufficient mechanism to prevent electoral frauds,” Ioannisyan said.

Due to Daniel Ioannisyan, publishing the passport data is a consequence of lack of legislative knowledge as Electoral Code stipulates that there should be passport data column in the lists. But that column will be filled in if there is no electronic registration device or it does not work properly.

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