Wednesday, April 1 2020 18:47
Karina Manukyan

Minister: Highly discussed bill does not provide for wiretapping

Minister: Highly discussed bill does not provide for wiretapping

ArmInfo.Yeserday the Armenian parliament adopted a draft amendment to the laws "On the legal regime of emergency" and "On electronic communication", which gives a green light to the receipt of data on the movement and phone calls of  citizens. The bill caused mixed reactions in connection with fears  that telephone conversations will be tapped. Meanwhile, RA Minister  of Justice Rustam Badasyan notes that such mechanisms are not  provided for by the document.

At a press conference on April 1, the minister emphasized that it was  exclusively about establishing a circle of contact persons of a  citizen who has coronavirus. A system specially developed for these  purposes will generate and analyze data on the location and phone  calls of the virus carrier. If the data on the geolocation of the  contacting persons and their telephone conversations coincide, then  the relevant information will be sent to the Ministry of Emergencies,  the Police and other state bodies that are competent to resolve  issues related to self-isolation of persons who came into contact  with the patient.

The above adjustments can be applied only in case of emergency  declared in connection with the risk of an epidemic. Thus, in the  case of an emergency introduced in connection with other  circumstances, they are not applicable.

As Badasyan emphasized, listening and recording text messages, based  on the draft law, are technically impossible. In addition, the  possibility of transferring data to third parties and foreign  organizations is excluded. The Minister also informed that all the  data collected should be deleted upon completion of the emergency or  other emergency measures.

The program for monitoring telephone calls and establishing  geolocation has been developed taking into account international  experience, and will make it possible to quickly identify a circle of  potential virus carriers. They will be contacted by representatives  of the Ministry of Emergencies, and when deciding on self-isolation,  additional data will also be taken into account. Badasyan recalled  that, according to the RA Ministry of Health, in Armenia the number  of patients with coronavirus doubles every 7 days, which indicates  the importance of expanding preventive measures.

Answering a question regarding the possibility of hacking the  database by hackers, the minister noted:  "There is a chance that an  asteroid will fall on Earth tomorrow and there will be serious  consequences, or hackers will attack the database of operators. There  is a possibility of everything, but this bill has nothing to do with  it>. Badasyan also expressed hope that citizens would not boycott the  bill by switching from telephone communication to various instant  messengers, thereby endangering the health of their loved ones. 

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