Coronavirus personal data legal amend struck down ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Jaanus Karilaid (Center).
Jaanus Karilaid (Center). Source: Kairit Leibold / ERR

Legal provisions which would have given the Estonian state the right to forward lists of those infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus to the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) have been withdrawn by the Riigikogu's legal affairs committee.

A bill aimed at alleviating the virus' spread would have amended the existing Emergency Act; the Riigikogu committee's chair, Jaanus Karilaid (Center) said that the amends concerning personal data processing were one of the most significant components of the bill, and removed them, also in the light of Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise's concerns on the issue.

"The committee took into account the Chancellor of Justice's criticism, and the government's compromise proposal, to consider more thoroughly how to ensure the protection of fundamental rights of the public, while at the same time enabling the processing of personal data in emergency situations," said Karilaid. 

"In practice, this means that the current [legal] situation remains intact, and the state has no legal basis for forwarding lists of sick people to the police."

Karilaid added that the committee had considered amendments received from ministries, Riigikogu political party groups and MPs.

The committee's vice-chair, Toomas Kivimägi (Reform) said he was pleased that the governing coalition had acknowledged its mistake by withdrawing the unfounded and controversial proposal to extend access to sensitive personal data during an emergency.

Kivimägi also expressed concerns about some committee members' views on other legislation related to the coronavirus pandemic and its effects.

"At the same time, we saw the cluster of bills (a raft of 33 pieces of legislation related to the emergency situation and going through the Riigikogu reading process at present-ed.) where the coalition MPs on the legal affairs committee voted down relevant proposals from the cultural affairs committee regarding the organization of [schools'] final exams," said Kivimägi. 

"Suspending the obligation to file for bankruptcy is also a big step backwards," he added.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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