Serbian citizens can now bring their objections and requests regarding Google’s use of their private date to the tech giant’s new representative in the country. Google, as one of the first tech-giants complying with the new Serbian law, wrote a letter to the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, i.e. Serbia’s Data Protection Authority, on 21 May 2020, stating that their representatives would be the Belgrade-based independent law firm BDK Advokati. Over a year ago, SHARE Foundation, a member of the European Digital Rights (EDRi) network, had asked Google and other global tech companies to take this very step and comply more closely with EU regulation.
YouTube, Chrome, Android, Gmail, maps and many other digital products without which the internet is unimaginable, are an important segment of the industry which entirely relies on processing personal data. With a significant delay and numerous difficulties, states have begun bringing some order in this field, which directly interferes with basic human rights. The European Union has set this standard by adopting the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while the new Law on Personal Data Protection in Serbia, in place since August 2019, followed this model too.
Although they have been operating in Serbia for a long time, global tech-corporations observe most developing countries as territories for an unregulated exploitation of citizens’ data. At the end of May 2019, SHARE sent the aforementioned request to 20 of the biggest tech companies from around the world, three months before the application of the new Law on Personal Data Protection, reminding them of their obligations towards Serbian citizens and the parameters of the new national law.
Twitter responded to us by saying that they were working on it. A global platform for booking airline tickets, eSky, also contacted us, and appointed their representative in Serbia. In December 2019, when Google and Facebook were dragging their feet in the issue of appointing representatives in the country, SHARE filed misdemeanor charges to the Serbian Commissioner.
Open letter to Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection (21.05.2020)
(In Serbian) Twitter imenuje predstavnika u Srbiji (17.07.2019)
SHARE files complaints against Facebook and Google (05.12.2019)
SHARE calls Facebook and Google to appoint their representatives in Serbia (21.05.2019)
Organisations from across Europe insist on a transparent appointment of the Commissioner in Serbia (04.12.2018)
(Contribution by Bojan Perkov from EDRi member SHARE Foundation)