By EDRi

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Mazedonien: Zivilgesellschaft fordert Respekt vor Privatsphäre | http://www.unwatched.org/node/2002]

On 11 June 2010, fifteen Macedonian civil society organizations reacted to
the threats to privacy and democracy contained in the Draft Law amending
the Law on Electronic Communications, calling for the withdrawal of the text
from parliamentary procedure.

The call has been supported by more than 365 citizens so far,
including prominent solicitors and other intellectuals, and was prepared
based on expert analyses, taking into account the views of relevant
stakeholders, especially NGOs dealing with human rights protection,
expressed in public and at the round table “Privacy in Macedonia” held on 4
June 2010 in Skopje.

The reason for this reaction to the proposed amendments is that those
amendments are creating legal opportunities for arbitrary and unlimited use
of eavesdropping and other forms of interception of electronic
communications that violate the basic postulates of the Constitution of the
Republic of Macedonia (Article 17 and 25) that guarantee the inviolability
of all forms of communication and protection of privacy and dignity.

The proposed amendments contravene directly the European Convention on Human
Rights and other international agreements ratified by the Macedonian
Assembly and the new EU Directive 2009/136/EC, part of the
Telecom Package. The amendments circumvent the norms established by the Law
on Personal Data Protection, the Law on Interception of Communications and
the Law on Criminal Procedure, and grant the Ministry of Interior with a
“constant and direct access” to telecommunication networks’ traffic data.

The initiative launched by the EDRi-member Metamorphosis Foundation,
Transparency Macedonia, FOSIM and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
is supported by the Macedonian Centre for European Training, FORUM – CSID,
Kontrapunkt, the Council for Global Cooperation, Reactor, YEF, Children’s
Theatre Centre, CA Common Values, the Centre for Media Development, Freedom
Square, Free Software Macedonia and Civil.

The full text of the call is available on the website of the Metamorphosis
Foundation, and was also submitted to all MPs in Parliament,
the Prime Minister, the Minister for Transport and Communications, and to
the Delegation of the EU to Macedonia along with relevant supporting
documents.

Bardhyl Jashari, the director of the EDRi-member Metamorphosis Foundation
says that the proposed law, apart from dangerously limiting citizens privacy
and eroding a fundamental human right, was proposed in a non-transparent and
non-inclusive manner, without involving relevant stakeholders.

Call for protection of citizens’ privacy in the Republic of Macedonia
(8.06.2010)
http://metamorphosis.org.mk/activities/povik-za-zashtita-na-privatnosta-na-graganite-vo-republika-makedonija.html

EDRi-gram: Macedonia: New Law on Electronic Communications Proposed
(19.05.2010)
http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number8.10/macedonia-new-law-electronic-communications

(Contribution by EDRi-member Metamorphosis Foundation – Macedonia)