Romanian Parliament adopts the data retention law. Again.
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Deutsch: Rumänien: Parlament verabschiedet Gesetz zur Vorratsdatenspeicherung....
On 22 May 2012, the lower chamber of the Romanian Parliament adopted the new draft law on data retention with 197 votes for the proposal and only 18 against it. The Chamber of Deputies has 332 members, so it is most likely that some parliamentary groups did not participate to the vote at all.
Even though the higher chamber (the Senate) rejected the draft law in almost unanimity on 21 December 2011, the new majority in the Chambers of Deputies feared the sanctions from the European Commissions, (estimated at 30 000 Euros/day of delay) and went ahead to adopt the text without any real evidence or debate over the right to privacy, despite the very clear Constitutional Court ruling of 2009 on the former data retention law or the concerns raised again by several human rights NGOs including EDRi-member ApTI.
In fact, after the rejection by the Senate and a negative vote from the Human Rights Committee in the Chambers of Deputies, one could have believed that the fate of the new draft law, that was not supported by the Government, was clear.
But the latest weeks have shown an impressive pressure from different locally appointed individuals dealing with EU matters - including the current Minister of European Affairs -pushing for the new law, just to avoid the imminent fine from the European Commission.
So, in the end, the political groups decided to ignore the citizens’ rights and the Constitutional Court’s decision, without any relevant discussion on privacy in the Chamber of Deputies or its main two committees that debated the law (Legal Committee and ITC Committee).
In a campaign to sensitize MPs over the data retention law back in February 2012, started by EDRI-member ApTI, only 1 Deputy out of the total 332 cared to answer the emails and snail mail the campaign. In this context of profound lack of real basic democratic skills from the Romanian MPs, it was no surprise that all the civil society concerns were just ignored, without any explanations.
The draft law adopted is actually worse than the initial one, with the access to the retained data in limbo. If the text of 2008 stated clearly that only a judge could allow the access to the data, the new text is unclear, making a reference to the Penal Procedure Code that, in fact, says nothing on the matter.
Unfortunately, the Chambers of Deputies' vote was decisive in this case and represents the final Parliament vote on this law. Now, within 5 days, certain institutions may initiate an unconstitutionality complaint to the Romanian Constitutional Court - but it is unclear if that will happen.
If no complaint is submitted, then the law will go to the President for promulgation. Then it will be published in the Official Monitor. From then on, it is probably just a matter of time until an NGO initiates a legal case, in order to get in fact a complaint to the Constitutional Court.
Chamber of Deputies have adopted the text of the Big Brother law (only
in Romanian, 22.05.2012)
Text of the adopted law (with amendments from the latest committees
meeting) (only in Romanian)
Law file on the Chamber of Deputies website
Results of the campaign to contact Romanian MPs (23.03.2012)
EDRi-gram: Romania: Data retention law declared unconstitutional