"New law on personal data protection needed"

BELGRADE -- Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection Rodoljub Sabic says Serbia needs a new personal data protection law.

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Head of the EU Delegation in Serbia Michael Davenport agreed on Wednesday with this assessment.

To mark the celebration of the European Data Privacy Day, Sabic and Davenport said during a joint news conference that the Serbian government needs to adopt the strategy and action plan in personal data protection sector.

On grounds of this document, the government should draft the proposition of the new law which should be adopted as soon as possible, Sabic said.

He noted that the situation in Serbia is not satisfactory and added that personal data protection cannot rest on the commissioner only, noting that the construction of an efficient system of personal data protection is a task for the government.

Sabic recalled that back in 2010, the government adopted the strategy on personal data protection, but it failed to adopt the action plan for its implementation although it should have been passed within three months.

He noted that he and his associates prepared a new model of the Law on personal data protection three months ago and filed it to the Justice Ministry.

Sabic expressed the belief that the new action plan and law can be adopted relatively soon and that their implementation may begin this year already.

Davenport welcomed the work of Commissioner Sabic and his team, and recalled that in its regular reports on Serbia's progress in EU integration, the EU always issued positive assessments of the institution's work.

He warned that the work in the area calls for synergy of all bodies and institutions so as to ensure promptness of legal frameworks and their implementation.

Davenport said that the EU will continue monitoring Serbia's progress in the area as it has the obligation to do with regard to the action plan for negotiating chapter 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights).

We hope for progress and adoption of the new law on personal data protection, he said and noted that urgent measures need to be implemented in order to realize this task.

Head of the Council of Europe (CoE) mission in Serbia Tim Cartwright said that the CoE Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data is the only and the most important international agreement of the kind that should be improved by introduction of new provisions in an additional protocol with a view to increasing security levels.

The provisions would deliver greater powers to relevant bodies and this would also contribute to a better implementation of the Convention, he said.

Data protection is especially important from the standpoint of the fight against terrorism, Cartwright said and expressed the belief that the authorities will be able to live up to the challenges.

The Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data was adopted by CoE on January 28, 2981.

All CoE member countries, including Serbia, celebrate the data as the European Data Privacy Day.