January 7, 2010
For immediate release
On January 14th , 2010 there will be a massive protest around the Parliament building in Sofia under the slogan “Bulgaria is not Big Brother, 2010 is not 1984”.
The protest will unite citizens, political parties and many organizations around their demand against the latest change in the data retention legislation.
The draft Law, which was passed on December 22nd , 2009, contains provisions, allowing the Ministry of Interior and many other agencies to execute continuous and uncontrolled monitoring of the behaviour, movement and other information on any Bulgarian citizen, regardless if he is or is not guilty of any crime. This preconditions the reversing of the “innocent until proven guilty” concept, which is a founding concept of the Bulgarian Constitution as well as of a number of European documents for human rights protection.
Here are some points of the proposal:
1. The Ministry of Interior will have access through a direct interface to the data for the calls and the mobile devices positioning of every single citizen without any legal reason. Court order is required, but the term “interface” is also introduced and this gives the agencies direct and untraceable access to the general national database for every one of us, rendering useless the control, exercised by the Court and the Parliament.
2. Another odd requirement, which is introduced in spite of the Directive, is that traffic data may be retained for crimes with more than 2 years imprisonment, which is practically almost any crime. Even odder is the fact that the Law specifically says that these traffic data can be used in relation to computer crimes, provided for in the Penal Code, which soon will include the vague subject of computer piracy.
The other key issue, which we fight against, is the too big and wrongful extension of the Directive, requiring the insertion of similar matter in the Bulgarian legislation, thus giving a legal reason to the Ministry of Interior to enter the general data base any time it wishes.
Of course, there are many other problems, because the legislative framework on data retention itself violates our rights and it is no surprise that it is being abolished in many countries. We, in Bulgaria, will continue to work for this.
Here is an example interface – http://bogomil.info/dr (/Firefox /required).
“Electronic Frontier Bulgaria” is one of the organizations, which initiated the protest and which is leading the fight against Internet and mobile phones tapping since 2008.
We are a part of the core of the protest, which is to be held on January 14th , 2010 at 11 a.m. in front of the Bulgarian Parliament. Our main and sole demand is a change in the draft Electronic Communications Law, ensuring the human rights of all users of Internet and telecommunication services in Bulgaria, including mobile phone talks.
Bogomil “Bogo” Shopov
+ 359 897 615128 (mobile)