Political decision on direct access to the telecommunications data needs to be made urgently

On October 31, the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili announced his decision to veto the amendments to the Law of Georgia on Electronic Communications adopted by the Parliament the day before. President Margvelashvili sent his substantiated objections and a proposal back to the Parliament.

Non-governmental organizations participating in This Affects You campaign welcome the President’s decision. When vetoing the amendments, the president stated: "The Georgian society has arrived at a consensus and a firm position on this issue. We should switch to the modern democratic forms of security service operations” According to the President, the total and uncontrolled surveillance installed by the government over the years must be finally rejected. On October 31, Parliament voted for the proposal and passed the bill under which the issue concerning the direct access to secret wiretapping shall be resolved before December 1, 2014 instead of March 1, 2015.

Given this situation, the civil society organizations involved in This Affects You – They are Still Listening campaign urge the parliament and the parliament speaker, David Usupashvili, to promptly organize a parliamentary working group meeting. At the same time, it is necessary to initiate a dialogue between the government branches as soon as possible so that the government could come up with a political decision on issues related to the access of the law enforcement agencies to the citizens’ personal information. Otherwise, we will find ourselves facing the same problem, i.e. the pertinent legislative changes will remain unprepared before the expiration date.

We believe that without creating guarantees safeguarding human rights Georgia cannot have any claims to be a civilized and democratic state, something that every politician must take into account when making a decision on these issues.