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May 27, 2022

Senate rejects law on prepaid mobile phone cards, President Iohannis asks review of cyber security, data access laws

Senators on Thursday rejected the law for the modification and completion of Government Emergency Ordinance (GEO) No. 111/2011 on electronic communications, sent back to Parliament for reexamination following the Constitutional Court of Romania ruling deeming it unconstitutional.

As shown in the expository, the legislative initiative was intended “to set a clear, well-defined, legal framework in fighting organised crime and especially severe cross-border crimes, as well as terrorist acts.”

The initiators of the law specified that, at the moment, the mobile telephony market in Romania is dominated by prepaid clients, representing 67 per cent of the total number of users of mobile communications services.

‘The prepaid mobile phone cards are subjected to a different legal regime than the usual one for users of electronic communications services provided based on a subscription, which makes it difficult to identify the users of prepaid cards in criminal investigations and, implicitly, makes it hard for the authorities to identify, prevent or counter risks or threats to security,’ showed the expository of the draft initiated by the government.

The law initiators also explained that the current situation generates discriminations among users of services provided by suppliers ‘in the context in which the national legislation admits the right of suppliers to collect and process the personal data of subscribers, while the latter have the obligation to make this data available.’

The law, in its current form that was sent for promulgation and then sent back to Parliament, proposes the registration of users of prepaid mobile phone cards, along with the collection and stocking of their data. In what Internet users are concerned, the law stipulates that their data must also be stored for six months since collection.

The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) admitted a notification it received from the Ombudsman on July 9, 2014, and ruled that a law requesting the identification of the users of prepaid mobile phone cards was unconstitutional, for ‘the way data are obtained and stored to identify the users of prepaid communication services does not provide sufficient guarantees for the effective protection of personal data from abuses and illegal use.’

The CCR decision No. 461/2014 is final and compelling. The Senate, which was the first notified chamber in this case, rejected the law with 93 to 2 votes.


COSC begins review on the access to digital data flows and cyber security


The Operative Council for Cyber Security (COSC) begins this week a review of the legal provisions on the access to digital data flows and cyber security, upon an initiative of President Klaus Iohannis, the Presidential Administration informed on Thursday.
The approach intends to overcome the current stalemate in this field by acknowledging the Constitutional Court’s rulings and by providing better public information on the legal measures and on their impact, a media release of the Presidential Administration’s mentions.

According to this document, the legal review will include consultations with the civil society prior to reopening the legislative process in the parliament, as ‘the participation of civil society’s representative is essential for an approach that meets those who already voiced their scepticism about some provisions.’

The representatives of political parties in the Parliament’s specialized committees are to be consulted, too; also, business people and academic personalities.

The openly declared purpose of the debates is to find a balance between individual freedoms and the fight against terrorism, cybercrimes and corruption.

The consultations will be hosted by COSC, chaired by the President’s advisor for national security. The COSC vice chair is the prime minister’s advisor on national security, and the technical coordinator is the Romanian Intelligence Service.

The Presidential Administration assured that the law on decision transparency will be observed prior to the reopening of the legislative process.


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