“Big Brother” bill of law passed

The Chamber of Deputies plenum session yesterday passed the articles of the draft law on data generated or processed by operators of public telephone and Internet networks.

The draft law, also known as the “Big Brother” Law, stipulating the obligation of fixed and mobile telephone and Internet network operators to retain for six months certain subscriber data to be supplied, by request, to national security authorities for their actions of prevention, investigation, and uncovering of serious criminal offenses was voted yesterday.  The draft law received 197 votes in favour, 18 against and 13 abstentions. Varujan Pambuccian, leader of the national minorities group, who attended the session, said that the electronic signature, too, had to be introduced among the data in the bill stipulations. “We have introduced the electronic signature and all the voice or image files should have to be saved too, as they can be modified, used or manipulated, willingly or unwillingly, most of the times,” Pambuccian told the Chamber of Deputies plenum, according to Realitatea TV. Varujan Pambuccian also urged Government officials to take into consideration an expanded measure to include  electronic signature, along with enforced punishments in cases of non-compliance with the file regime. According to  Mediafax, another bill amendment refers to a reduction from one year to six months in the storage time of data. Law expert deputies also amended an article that stipulates the judicial police investigative authorities’ right to request retained data only with  approval  from the prosecutor overseeing or carrying out the criminal proceedings, or the prosecutor in charge, according to the criminal investigation proceedings and with the nod from the relevant judge.At the request of investigative authorities, telephone and  Internet network operators shall convey within 48 hours the requested data, and unless possible within that time interval, in five days at the latest.The draft law also stipulates the criminal investigative authorities’ obligation to inform the person about the data request within 48 hours since the request was made, except for those instances when the person is involved in actions jeopardising national security. Leonard Orban, Minister of European Affairs, announced on May 7 that Parliament must pass by the end of this month the communication data retention draft law, otherwide Romania risks paying financial corrections worth over 30,000 de euro/day adding to which is a forfeited amount in excess of EUR 1 M.Unless Parliament passed the bill by the end of this month, the ‘College’ of Commissioners could have decided to send the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union, which was entitled to order financial sanctions against Romania.

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