Changes in the Slovenian Intelligence Agency Act

By EDRi · April 12, 2006

The proposed changes of Slovenian Intelligence Agency Act (ZSOVA) raised
questions about its unconstitutionality. The government would like to
exclude the current 6-month limitation for use of special operative methods,
e.g. mail monitoring, recording of telephone conversations etc. The
Government invoked cooperation with EU and NATO in the fight against
terrorism as the reason for the proposed changes.

There are two main changes being proposed. According to the first one, the
competence to ordain measures that invade individual’s information privacy
would be transferred from the president of Ljubljana Circuit Court to the
president of the Slovenian Supreme Court. Legal experts find this solution
better, but still not optimal, as the decision-making is still in the hands
of one single person. A panel of 3 Supreme Court judges would be a better

The second and most important change is the exclusion of the current 6-month
limitation for the concentrated and continuous monitoring of
telecommunications. If the proposed changes pass through the Parliament, the
Slovenian Intelligence agency (SOVA) will theoretically be able to perform
surveillance over individual’s communications for months, years or even

Under the current legislation, SOVA may monitor written correspondence and
record telephone conversations (of individuals that may pose a threat for
national security) for the maximum period of 3 months. Exceptionally, the
duration of surveillance may be extended for a month each time, but the
total duration must not exceed 6 months. According to the proposed changes
to the Slovenian Intelligence Agency Act, the President of Slovenian Supreme
Court would be authorised to extend the duration of measures for another 3
months each time, without any limitation of total duration.

According to Goran Klemencic from the Faculty of Criminal Justice and
Security, the proposed change violates article 37 of the Slovenian
Constitution, which says that encroachment upon individual’s right to
privacy of correspondence and other means of communication may “be suspended
for a period of time where it is so necessary for criminal proceedings or
national security.” Besides, Klemencic says that such a solution would also
be disproportionate (regardless of court warrant), as “it cannot be
admissible that law enables unlimited concentrated surveillance of an

This act broadens the power of the Slovenian Military Intelligence Agency,
as well.

The government wants the Parliament to discuss and pass the proposed changes
using the quick procedure option, where the possibilities for extending
discussions and filing amendments are vastly reduced.

Longer time of secret surveillance? (only in Slovenian, 14.03.2006)

Changes to Slovenian Intelligence Agency Act – Will SOVA be able to perform
continuous eavesdropping (only in Slovenian, 16.03.2006)

Contestable Slovenian Intelligence Agency Act (only in Slovenian,

(Contribution by Aljaz Marn, EDRI observer,, Slovenia)