By Αικατερίνη Σταμάτη
In Boulgaria
Απρ 24th, 2015

Committee: SOCHUM

Topic: The right to privacy

Country: Bulgaria

Delegate Name: Galini Mantela

Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively. The domain of privacy partially overlaps security, which can include the concepts of appropriate use, as well as protection of information. Privacy may also take the form of bodily integrity.

The Bulgarian Constitution of 1991 recognizes rights of privacy, secrecy of communications and access to information. According to the article 32, (1)?The privacy of citizens shall be inviolable. Everyone shall be entitled to protection against any illegal interference in his private or family affairs and against encroachments on his honor, dignity and reputation?, (2)?No one shall be followed, photographed, filmed, recorded or subjected to any other similar activity without his knowledge or despite his express disapproval, except when such actions are permitted by law?. Article 34, (1); ?The freedom and confidentiality of correspondence and all other communications shall be inviolable.?, (2) ?Exceptions to this provision shall be allowed only with the permission of the judicial authorities for the purpose of discovering or preventing a grave crime.» Article 41 states, (1)?Everyone shall be entitled to seek, obtain and disseminate information. This right shall not be exercised to the detriment of the rights and reputation of others, or to the detriment of national security, public order, public health and morality.?, (2)?Citizens shall be entitled to obtain information from state bodies and agencies on any matter of legitimate interest to them which is not a state or other secret prescribed by law and does not affect the rights of others.»

In 1996, the government began developing data protection legislation in preparation for integration into the EU Internal Market under the Treaty for Association of Bulgaria to the EU. According to the article 1 of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), (1)This Act regulates the protection of natural persons with regard to processing of personal data as well as the access to such data?, (2)?This Act is intended to guarantee the inviolability of individuals and their privacy through protecting natural persons against illegitimate processing of personal data related to them and through providing right to access such data, which has been collected or processed.

Electronic surveillance used in criminal investigation is regulated by the criminal code and requires a court order. The telecommunications Law also requires that agencies must ensure the secrecy of communications. In the 1997 Special Surveillance act regulates the use of surveillance techniques by the Interior Ministry for investigating crime but also for loosely defined national security reasons. A court order is usually required but in cased of emergency, an order from the Interior Ministry is sufficient. We believe that the state?s intervention is necessary in cases where the internet becomes a tool for cyber crime and violation of others? rights, for instance piracy or children abuse.

For these reasons Bulgaria is a member of the Council of Europe and has signed but not ratified the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. It has signed and ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Based on articles 32 and 1 of the Bulgarian Constitution the Bulgarian Commission for Personal Data Protection, an independent supervisory authority based in Sofia and subsidized by the national budget has competency to supervise both public and private sectors. The processing and the access to personal data is for the purposes of defense, national security and public order as well as for the enforcing of criminal law by the executive power and the judiciary are subject to special Acts.

Privacy and free speech face many serious threats: from expansive government surveillance to corporate plotting against the internet. But our community has never been stronger and more capable of protecting essential freedoms, and the more we grow, the more powerful we become as a force for change. We believe that online communication stays virtual when it defends human rights, but it needs surveillance and punishment when it violates them.

Taking all the aforementioned issues into account we support that the international community should continue their action towards protecting the right to privacy all over the world. It is our responsibility to grow international awareness and highlight the sense of urgency for any instance of interference should be subject to a careful and critical assessment of its necessity, legitimacy and proportionality

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