No personal life in an emergency? Expert opinions.
On March 30, the National Assembly passed the first reading of a package of draft laws submitted by the government that allows them to intervene in the protection of people's personal data, privacy and family life, freedom of communication, and privacy rights during the state of emergency.

In particular, the government proposes to make available the personal data of citizens, such as mobility, telephone calls, and correspondence, to determine the scope of those infected with the coronavirus. The bill was heavily criticized in parliament. Opposition factions voted against the draft. Edmon Marukyan, head of the "Bright Armenia" faction, is convinced that this project is late and makes no sense. Media Center inquired Shushan Doydoyan, President of Freedom of Information Center, whether she, as a former head of the Personal Data Protection Agency, saw problematic points in the project and whether she considered it to be late. "I don't think this is a late project, moreover, I consider it a very effective tool used by China, Singapore, South Korea. Europe is hesitating to decide on this issue, as it has strong legal protection and no national governments are able to exercise control without the consent of individuals." 

Shushan Doydoyan says the document presented by the Armenian government is a success but she points out some concerns that, according to her, need to be rectified immediately before the document becomes law. Therefore, one of the most important issues is that the draft law does not specify which bodies are authorized to access the processed data. “The draft states that the list of these bodies will be determined by the government's decision. I think this is a key issue and should not be left to the government's decision. It is in this law that the list should be noted." The FOICA President also considers it a matter of concern that the data will be kept for up to one month after the State of Emergency. In her opinion, this period should also be revised, a maximum of three days should be set. The issue of security is also problematic. “I don't think there is a security system where the protection of citizens' personal data can be fully implemented. At least I do not see these security guarantees, systems notes in this draft law, which would make the law more transparent and more fully guaranteed to citizens. Where will the personal data be stored in the facility? The law should also offer a clear regulation on these issues.”

According to Shushan Doydoyan, the range of data to be processed is very broad. According to her, it is not justified how the citizen calls or their duration can be useful in the fight against the epidemic. According to the FOICA President, it is sufficient to collect data on citizens' whereabouts from their phones. "I think it's a raw and not ready draft, so I would recommend reforming the problematic sections after presenting them for a second reading."

Human rights expert, lawyer Ara Ghazaryan considered the project an adequate response to the current situation. "The draft includes all-important human rights principles set out in international documents." According to the lawyer, there may be unsolved issues, there may be insufficient regulation of the mechanisms, but they can be corrected. "I am most interested in the fact that this is the right balance between public and private interests, and let's not forget that it is a response to the situation, and in the short term, it is also a guarantee. I would like guarantees to be set by law, not specific procedures that do not provide guarantees. For example, the procedure that sets out the procedure for destroying data, including the timeframe, should be established by law as it is a very important safeguard against abuse. As a reply to MC's question which body should have access to the collected data, Ara Ghazaryan answered: "Such an opportunity can only be given to anybody except the National Security Service. The European approach is that the NSS should deal only with intelligence and counter-intelligence. Since it is a secret structure, public control over it does not work, so in case of any other body, the public control will exercise."

Print Friendly and PDF
More Press Releases
COVID-19: Without Panic, Please
Today, on May 25, the Media Center conducted an online interview with Hasmik Ghazinyan, Infectionist-Hepatologist at "Nork" Republican Infectious Clinical Hospital.
"Tourism in Armenia under COVID-19"
On May 21, at 6:00 pm, the Media Center organized an online discussion on "Tourism in Armenia under COVID-19".
"At What Age and How can a Child be Protected from Sexual Abuse?"
On May 18, at 14:00, Media Center organized an online discussion on the topic of "At What Age and How can a Child be Protected from Sexual Harassment?"
“My Home is My Castle: How Safe Are We in That Castle? ”
May 15 is Family Day.

On May 15, at 19:00, the Public Journalism Club invited a webinar. The topic was “My home is my castle: how safe are we in that castle?”
"Under what conditions will kindergartens be reopened?"
On May 15, at 14:00, the Media Center organized an online discussion on the topic of "Under what conditions will kindergartens be reopened?".
Follow us on social networks
Registration of events
Press Releases
Armenia-Turkey Events