NGOs sound the alarm over all-inclusive and unprotected state register

07.11.2013 |

A number of NGOs have addressed an appeal to the president; the parliamentary committee on human rights; and the relevant ministries over a dangerously intrusive Unified Sate Demographic Register. 

The relevant law, they explain, came into force on Dec. 6, 2012, and” envisages the creation of a centralized database called the Unified Sate Demographic Register (the Register). 

The Register will hold personal data on all citizens, including a biometric image of the person’s face; biometric signature; information about where they’re registered; their marital state; information about their parents; details about documents issued to them; additional biometric data; information from governmental information systems containing all databases in public bodies and bodies of local self-government  .

Although this Law was adopted as a step towards implementation of the EU Visa Liberalization Action Plan for Ukraine (regarding biometric passports), it is quite clear that the merging of all governmental databases and the amount of the personal data which it is planned to gather and store is absolutely incommensurate with the requirements for issuing passport documents.

The NGOs point out the law runs counter to Ukraine’s Constitution (namely Article 32) as well as international agreements ratified by the Verkhovna Rada.  According to the 1981 Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, personal data must be “adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are stored”.   The Register is clearly a disproportionate database for issuing biometric passports.

“Not one executive body in Ukraine has yet taken measures to review the norms of the Law regarding the creation of the Register. On the contrary, on Sept. 11, 2013 the Cabinet of Ministers approved a plan for introducing biometric passports which envisages the allocation of almost 800 million UAH on creating the Register.  It is noteworthy that to date the text of this Plan has not been made public..

The authors stress that the creation of this Register will result in wide-scale infringement of people’s right to privacy. As a result, each person will be able to seek protection from the courts, including from the European Court of Human Rights. It is extremely probable that the creation in Ukraine of the Register will be found to be unlawful. The public funding allocated for the creation of this Register will have been wasted, and the compensation awarded by court rulings will be yet another burden on the State budget.

In view of this we ask that money from the State Budget for 2014 not be allocated for the creation of the Register until there has been a proper assessment of whether the Law on the Unified State Demographic Register and documents confirming Ukrainian citizenship, identity or special status complies with legal standards on personal data protection.

The authors express their support for introducing biometric passports and stress that this is entirely possible without creating the Register.

The open appeal is signed by:

Ihor Koliushko for the Centre for Political and Legal Reform;

Oleksandra Matviychuk from the Centre for Civil Liberties;

Tetyana Pechonchyk from the Human Rights Information Centre;

Yulia Tyshchenko from the Ukrainian Independent Political Research Centre;

Vadim Pyvovarov from the Ukrainian Association of Human Rights Monitors of Law Enforcement

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