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    • How Law Enforcement (Should) Protect Personal Data

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    • Date: 26 July 2019

       

      Personal data protection in the context of international cooperation between police and other law enforcement authorities, and Chapter 24 of Serbia's accession negotiations with the European Union was the focus of the seminar organized by the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) on 26 July 2019 in Belgrade.

      Since the implementation of a new law regulating personal data protection is soon to start in Serbia, BCSP invited a European expert in this field, Juraj Sajfert, to clarify European standards for personal data protection by law enforcement and to talk about best practices for translating the so-called EU Law Enforcement Directive (LED) into national legislation.

      What makes this topic important was stressed by BCSP Director Sonja Stojanovic Gajic.

      "Police co-operation and data sharing take up a large part of the Action Plan for Chapter 24. Also, the implementation of the Law on Personal Data Protection is beginning in Serbia soon, which is why it is crucial to understand the new European regulations in this area and how we can properly monitor the implementation of the law in Serbia," emphasized Stojanovic Gajic.

      Participants had the opportunity to discuss with Sajfert which authorities are covered with the LED, how is it different from the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), how oversight fuctions and what are citizens’ rights, as well as to resolve dilemmas on a number of other issues regarding the text and implementation of LED.

      Although GDPR is a far more known part of the EU data protection legislative package due to its direct and widespread implementation, LED represents a revolution in its field and significantly increases the responsibility of law enforcement for protecting personal data, said Sajfert.

      Sajfert explained that citizens have the right to request access to data collected by law enforcement about them, and to request that certain personal data is deleted, corrected or restricted to a small number of persons, which is included in the LED. In protecting the rights of citizens, the LED gives a significant role to oversight bodies, but leaves much room for member states to determine how these bodies can sanction law enforcement authorities in the event of a violation of rights.

       

      The seminar was attended by representatives of member organizations of the working groups of the National Convention on the European Union for chapters 23 and 24, other civil society organizations working with this topic, as well as the Commissioner for free access to information of public importance and personal data protection.

       

      The seminar was a part of the project “Defending the Right of Access to Information,” which is supported by the Open Society Foundation in Serbia.

      The National Convention on the European Union (NCEU) is a permanent, institutionalized body within which a thematically structured debate takes place between representatives of the state administration, non-governmental organizations, politicians, experts, professional organizations and the general public on Serbia's accession to the European Union. NCEU consists of 21 working groups that cover the themes of all 35 chapters of the EU acquis. BCSP is the Coordinator of the Working Group for Chapter 24.

       

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