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European Data Protection Day

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Today we celebrate the European Data Protection Day. The Council of Europe has designated the 28th of January as Data Protection Day since on this date, in 1981, it adopted the European Data Protection Convention. We have reasons to contemplate on this anniversary as it may be 30 whole years since the Convention adoption but Greece still, after all these years, violates certain provisions to the European Data Protection Convention. Αt the end of 2007, an amendment of data protection legislation introduced an exemption of its scope, in favor of prosecution authorities, courts of justice and the agencies under judicial supervision. In a nutshell , this amendment exepmpted police from the application of data protection, as regards detection of crimes defined by the law as felonies or misdemeanors intentionally committed. During the summer of 2009, a new amendment that passed extended the exemption excluding the use of cameras from the scope of data protection legislation concerning devices capturing image and sound that operate under state's responsibility. The Data Protection Authority then, issued an opinion stating that an exemption of wide aspects of state's responsibility from data protection legislation is uncostitutional, since it violates a new explicit constitutional right provided for in Article 9A of the Constitution, as amended in 2001, according to which, anyone has a right for protection of his personal data. The legislature has no competence to exempt wide categories of state responsibility, as the field of police agancies, prosecutor's offices and public authorities cameras from data protection legislation. Appart from the unconstitutional exemption, according to the DPA's interpretation, there is also a violation of the European Data Protection Convention the adoption of which we celebrate today. The Convention itself provides for possible exemptions for data processing for law enforcement purposes, as far as these exemptions are based on certain Articles to the Convention that allows law enforcement authorities to derogate from some data protection rules. But a total abolition of the data protection framework in favor of police, prosecutors, cameras etc. is not allowed by the Convention. Therefore, the Greek legislation maintains an exemption from the European Data Protection Convention that should be abolished. Τhe now ruling Party, that was back then at the opponent, had strongly criticized the amendments. However, last week they passed a law that implements the data retention directive and, among other changes, it abolishes the exemption of state's cameras from Law n.2472 and amends data protection law in order to apply also to the cameras that operate on behalf of state authorities, under the application of data protection law that defines that only these authorities may install cameras for public space coverage. But this is just one step done by the government. It just abolished the camera's amendment, while one more step should follow for this is that violates the European Convention: the exemption of judicial, prosecuting and law enforcement authorities from the scope of data protection framework should be also abolished. Data protection legislation should apply also to personal data processed by the courts, the public prosecutors and the police. This is our obligation according to the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Recommendation Nr 15 of 1987, according to which the Data Protection Convention's provisions apply also to the processing of personal data by police authorities. There is one more step that must be done. A message that must be sent on the European Data Protection Day.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 1 second
Country: Greece
Language: Greek
Producer: Vasilis Sotiropoulos
Director: Vasilis Sotiropoulos
Views: 233
Posted by: elawyer on Jan 27, 2011

A message for the European Data Protection Day 2011. The greek data protection legislation does not implement the Data Protection Convention with regard to judicial and law enforcement authorities. Vasilis Sotiropoulos short observations on the issue.

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