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March 2, 2021
POLITICS

Terrorist attacks in Paris bring to the forefront of Romanian officials the heavily contested “Big Brother Law”

Following the Wednesday terrorist  attacks in Paris,  Romania’s Prosecutor  General Tiberiu  Nitu  has stated that efficient laws are imperiously necessary in order to prevent acts of terrorism and, in the same direction, tools are needed in order to grant investigators the opportunity to anticipate the actions of terrorists and to take firm action. He declared that the laws on prepaid telephone cards and data collection could represent, if we had them, adequate instruments, proper instruments for preventing acts of terrorism. “Under these circumstances, I would like to outpoint the fact that, for an efficient prevention of acts of terrorism, we need adequate instruments, such as the laws regulating prepaid phone cards and the collection of data, if we had them”, Tiberiu Nitu declared at the entrance to the  Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) headquarters.

 

Prosecutor General: It is of utmost important that we could prevent acts of terrorism

 

Asked by journalists whether there is any need for a new law similar to the heavily contested “Big Brother Law”, which ended up by being declared unconstitutional, the Prosecutor General declared: “I do not want to make comparisons with other laws.”

“It is of utmost important that we could prevent acts of terrorism. You mentioned what happened in Paris; just look what we are trying to combat really means. What is going on is terrifying. It is important to prevent these things and, in order to prevent them, we need the proper instruments. These laws, allowing us to anticipate, to find out what these people are up to, are not only extremely welcome, but imperiously necessary”, Tiberiu Nitu also added.

The Prosecutor General also added that, in order to act firmly against terrorists and to prevent acts of terrorism, no measure is out of proportion.

“We assumed all measures and lobbied, beside other institutions, that these laws would be adopted. Please take into account that, in order to take firm action against terrorists and to be able to prevent acts of terrorism, no measure seems out of proportion”, Nitu mentioned.

Law no. 82 / 2012, known as the Big Brother Law had stipulated the compulsoriness by fixed and mobile telephone services and internet suppliers to collect certain data provided by subscribers for six months and to send them, at demand, to authorities of the national security forces for actions of preventing, investigating, identifying and researching severe crimes. On July 8, 2014, the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR)  decided that the Big Brother Law was unconstitutional.

 

PM Ponta : New legislation to observe the CCR ruling is needed

 

Prime Minister Victor Ponta said there’s the need for a new legislation that observes the Constitutional Court ruling as regards the retention of data generated or processed by the suppliers of electronic communication networks and services for the public.

 

Minister Sorin Grindeanu: There is a legal vacuum with possible negative consequences

 

The Ministry for Information Society (MSI) has urgently convened  the inter-institutional working group on the retention of data generated or processed by suppliers of electronic communication services in Romania for a meeting on Thursday at the headquarters of the ministry, given the latest threats in the EU member states and the recent terrorist attack in France.

In this context, Minister for Information Society, Sorin Grindeanu said that at this moment, there is a legal vacuum with possible negative consequences upon the conduct of the activity of the state bodies responsible for criminal prosecution, because a new EU legislative document on the retention of data generated or processed by suppliers of electronic communication networks and services for the public has not been adopted yet at European level.

“Following the Constitutional Court ruling and given the lack of a new EU legislative act on the retention of data generated or processed by suppliers of electronic communication networks and services for the public, a legal vacuum was created, with possible negative consequences upon the conduct of the activity of the state bodies responsible for criminal prosecution, courts and state bodies responsible for national security. It is imperative to identify urgent and comprehensive solutions to prevent such issues such as terrorism. Furthermore, we need to find the perfect formula to ensure the safety of each person, as well as not to affect the private space, personal data or freedom of expression,” Grindeanu said, quoted by Agerpres.

 

SRI’s spokesperson: Absence of Big Brother Law likely to affect the national security

 

Sorin Sava, spokesperson for the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) told B1TV  that the absence of Big Brother Laws is likely to affect the national security and that the total anonymity of communications permitted by the laws in force in Romania creates vulnerabilities in the management of the “often imminent” risks.

” SRI definitely welcomes the put into question of the debates for these laws. In order to fulfill its objectives, SRI must conduct its activity with respect to the legal framework and to international agreements. SRI doesn’t makes assessments on the CCR  decisions, but we want to draw attention on consequences that are experienced also at our  partners level. (…) There are situations creating vulnerabilities that could endanger the national security, “said Sorin Sava. He stressed that these vulnerabilities affect not only Romania but the entire Euro-Atlantic space.

 

 

 

 

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