Digital Rights in Bulgaria

Bulgarian Interior Ministry will only be able to use electronic communication data stored by service providers in the case of serious crime and computer related crime, Parliament decided on February 19 2009.

Amendments to the Law on Electronic Communication further limit access by the ministry by making it subject to the Law on Special Intelligence Means and the Penal Code, Bulgarian daily Dnevnik said.

Communication data was to be stored for 12 months, a period which can not be extended.

With the February 19 decision, Bulgaria implemented the European Union Data Retention Directive, though be it with two differences.

The EU directive specifically stipulates that the period for which data is stored can be extended in specific cases. A second difference is that the EU directive does not include computer related crime.

In a first reaction to the decision, Bogomil Shopov from Bulgarian Electronic Frontier said that “business lobbyists used the ignorance of some MPs for their own purposes. Computer crime is not the subject of the EU directive, only serious crime that threatens national security.”

“While for serious crimes an order from the prosecutor will be required, this does not apply for computer crime,” Shopov said.

Proposed amendments that would have given the Interior Ministry almost unrestricted access to communication data stored by service providers have met with strong protest from privacy advocacy organisations.

Two days before the vote in Parliament, national and international collective rights organisations, including local representations of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the Business Software Alliance (BSA), sent an open letter to Parliament and the media making their plea for amendments that would allow for the use of stored data in the prosecution of filesharing.

Source: Sofia Echo

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