Personal Data Protection Inspector’s Position To Be Abolished

Georgia will no longer have a Personal Data Protection Inspector as soon as the State Inspector’s Service is established.

When the new service is set up, the State Inspector will replace the Personal Data Protection Inspector, while the State Inspector's Office will substitute the Personal Data Protection Inspector's Office.

The changes are included in the draft law on State Inspector's Service, which was introduced to the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) by the Ministry of Justice on January 31. This bill envisages creation of an independent investigative mechanism, which will investigate alleged offences and crimes committed by the law enforcers.

The draft law has not  been initiated in the Parliament yet.

Non-governmental organizations should submit their positions within two weeks, but some of them have already expressed their opoinion over the draft.

Levan Avalishvili, a representative of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) says the planned changes are “illogical.”

“The Personal Data Protection Inspector's Office not only protects personal data but also provides balance between public and personal data and no other agency can guarantee this balance," said Avalishvili.

He noted it was "totally unexpected" for the NGOs when the draft law was presented by the Justice Ministry in such a form, adding the non-governmental sector was not involved in consultations.

“The new body should not have the function of personal data protection at all. This process is not normal and in line with the standards that the chair country of Open Government partnership should have,” Avaliani stressed.

According to the project initiated by the Justice Ministry, the State Inspector will have the right to initiate an investigation into alleged violations committed by law enforcers and also by high-ranking officials, the only exceptions being the Chief Prosecutor, Minister of Internal Affairs and Head of State Security Service.

The State Inspector's Service will work in three main directions: investigating alleged ill-treatment, including torture, beating and other forms of treatment by law enforcers, protection of personal data and control of the principle of lawfulness in the process of secret investigations.

Once the new body is set up, it will be headed by now Personal Data Protection Inspector Tamar Kaldani, who will deal with both personal data issues and alleged violations by law enforcers.

The service will be controlled by Parliament, with a Head appointed by it to serve for five years.

By Thea Morrison

02 February 2018 09:26