Bulgaria MPs Swamped by Anti-Internet Spying Calls, Messages

Domestic | December 22, 2009, Tuesday // 14:50|  views

The amendments in the Electronic Communications Act, discussed by the Bulgarian Parliament Tuesday, are being proposed for the third time and were one of the thorniest issues all through 2009. Photo by BGNES

The MPs from the ruling GERB party received Tuesday numerous phone calls and SMS from people protesting the amendments of the Electronic Communications Act.

The protest action titled “Call a Member of the Parliament – Stop the Total and Uncontrolled Spying,” is organized by the “Greens” Party and the group for protecting Internet rights - “Electronic Barrier.”

The organizers call for all citizens to get in touch with their MP and state their position regarding direct access on the part of the Interior Ministry to cell phone and internet communications.

Some of the MPs from the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party, who have received phone calls and short text messages (sms) include the Chair of the Internal Affairs Committee, Atanas Atanasov, and his Deputy, Krasimir Tsipov.

Tsipov said that the people he had talked to, and who were against the amendments, have not read the document and are ignorant about the EU decree that is aligned with the legislative changes.

The Parliament is discussing at first reading Tuesday the amendment of the Electronic Communications Act, which, if passed, would give Bulgaria's Interior Ministry direct and constant access to mobile communications' traffic data trough a permanent connection with internet and cell phone providers. The right-wing Blue Coalition, the left-wing Opposition, led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), and the conservative Order, Law and Justice (RZS) party are opposing the amendment.

The amendments in the Electronic Communications Act are being proposed for the third time and were one of the thorniest issues all through 2009.

The new GERB cabinet proposes that information is collected over a 12-month period and that it is provided to investigators in case of crimes punishable by at least 2 years of jail time, computer crimes and when there is a search for missing persons. The data would not be deleted after the 12-month period.

Another requirement is that businesses provide an “interface” to the “Technical Operations” Directorate of the Interior for verification of communications data. Businesses without an “interface” would be mandated to provide such information in 8 hours from receiving an order.

The Court is also to have access to electronic communications data along with authorities from foreign countries, when required by international contracts effective in Bulgaria.

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Tags: Electronic Communications Act, Martin Dimitrov, Yane Yanev, Tsvetan Tsvetanov


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