Bulgarian MPs Pass Special Surveillance Act AmendmentsDomestic | June 13, 2013, Thursday // 15:09| views
The Special Surveillance Devices Bill was prepared in a bid to stem wanton wiretapping, curb opportunities for criminal abuse of power and enhance efficient control in Bulgaria. File photo
Amendments to the Special Surveillance Devices, SRS, Act were passed at first reading in Bulgaria's Parliament on Thursday.
The most important change is the one removing the Specialized Operative and Technical Information Directorate, SDOTO, from the Ministry of Interior by making it a separate agency at the Council of Ministers to be called State Agency Technical Operations, DATO.
The chairperson of DATO will have a 4-year term and will be elected by the Parliament after being nominated by the Prime Minister. He or she will have two deputies to be appointed by the PM. There is a requirement for the chairperson and the deputies to be non-partisan. They must be Bulgarian citizens, have a Master's Degree and at least 8 years of legal experience or 5 years of experience in security agencies.
The amendments also resurrect the National Bureau for Independent and Active Control on the Use of SRS. It will have 5 members, including a chairperson and one deputy, to be elected by the Parliament.
According to the new legislation, those requesting warrants for the use of SRS, will have to provide own funding for each separate case.
Until now, the orders for the use of SRS were issued by the Interior Minister or a person, designated by him or her, but the DATO Chairperson will have this authority under the new law.
The legal changes have been initiated by Sergey Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Lyutvi Mestan, leader of the liberal ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, and a group of MPs.
The formerly-ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, boycotted the debates by leaving the plenary hall. Only GERB MP, former Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who is a staunch opponent of the amendments, remained in plenary hall.
GERB later returned and voted against.
The Bill was prepared in a bid to stem wanton wiretapping, curb opportunities for criminal abuse of power and enhance efficient control.
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