Riigikogu backs extension of military surveillance capabilities

Estonian military police officers.
Estonian military police officers. Source: Rauno Volmar, Ardi Hallismaa/Estonian Defence Forces

With 53 to 31 votes, the Riigikogu adopted the amended Defence Forces Organisation Act once again on Wednesday. President Kersti Kaljulaid refused to promulgate the new law in its current form in March this year, questioning the bill's constitutionality and saying that the military's extended surveillance powers violate the fundamental rights of citizens.

The bill of amendments to the act would grant the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) the right to secretly gain access to data of the state, municipalities, and legal as well as private persons. The amended act would also allow the EDF to clandestinely follow individuals, and carry out other surveillance activities against persons in urgent cases, and where necessary in the interest of the protection of the security of the EDF, BNS reported on Wednesday afternoon.

President Kersti Kaljulaid refused to promulgate the amended law on March 7 this year. She said that the amendments run counter to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, and that it represents a potentially significant infringement on the fundamental rights of individuals in this country.

Track-and-trace bill against tobacco smuggling passes first reading

A second bill of amendments passed a Riigikogu vote on Wednesday. Part of a pan-European measure to curb the illicit trade of tobacco products passed its first reading. The bill calls for the introduction of a unique identifier to make checking the authenticity of tobacco products easier.

In Estonia, a tax stamp consistent with the requirements of relevant EU legislation will serve as this identifier, the press service of the Riigikogu said.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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