Macedonia: Law on Electronic Communications Invades Citizens’ Privacy

On June 16, 2010, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia adopted changes to the Law of Electronic Communications, which now violates the privacy of the citizens. With these changes, the Ministry of Interior Affairs will have constant and direct access to the electronic communications networks, which is against the fundamental postulates of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia. You can read more on the negative aspects of this law in the “Call for protection of citizens’ privacy in the Republic of Macedonia,” published by Metamorphosis: Foundation for Sustainable ICT Solutions.

BoingBoing published an article titled Macedonia introduces universal, deep telco/Internet wiretapping; hardly any MPs bother to vote, stating this:

A reader writes, “Today the Law of Electronic Communications was amended in the Macedonian parliament with 55 for and 9 votes against (of 120 total, 91 were present, the remainder abstained). In a very Orwellian manner, the law grants the government constant and direct access to electronic communication networks (mainly telcos and internet providers) and obliges the providers of these services to enable the government (Ministry of Interior) to download of traffic data without oversight, through equipment which provides an interface to logs for phone-calls, TCP/UDP/IP traffic and every other means of transferring data to and from machines. The provided link is from an NGO that started to raise awareness for the law, but sadly as the government here doesn't pay much attention to independent thinking, they ignored the whole initiative.”

GV author Filip Stojanovski, who blogs at ;) Razvigor, in his post “Amendment 1984 of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia” [MKD], shares an excerpt from the Constitution:

As a reminder, Article 17 from the Constitution:

(1) The freedom and confidentiality of correspondence and other forms of communication is guaranteed.
(2) Only a court decision may authorize non-application of the principle of the inviolability of the confidentiality of correspondence and other forms of communication, in cases where it is indispensable to a criminal investigation or required in the interests of the defense of the Republic.

He continues, giving his opinion on the Law:

The negative aspects of this step by the government are tremendous: for the people who now can be “legally” eavesdropped on without court order, and without any possibility to prevent potential abuse, but also for Macedonia's international reputation.

At the end of his post, he calls for action:

It is necessary for the public to see the consequences from this act and to declare its opinion. If you care about your privacy, and the privacy of your loved ones, get them to be active on the subject. Share information, and join the future activities for protection of personal data.


Is there a way to know which Parliament member voted for and against these changes? It would be great if you write them an email or on their Facebook profiles what your opinions on this act are. And, of course, remind those of them who can read to read the Constitution, at least once. […]

Withdrawal of the undemocratic changes of the Law on Electronic Communications” [MKD] is a “cause” on Facebook for those who want to support the initiative.

For further discussion on the topic you can follow hashtag #privatnost on Twitter [MKD].


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