Constitutional Court Suspends Force of Part of Telecommunications Act

Constitutional Court Chairman Ivan Fiacan in Kosice on May 13, 2020 (photo by TASR)

Kosice, May 13 (TASR) – The Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday to suspend the effectiveness of part of the amendment to the Telecommunications Act, which in connection with the novel coronavirus outbreak enabled access by the Public Health Authority (UVZ) to data from telecommunications operators, TASR learnt on Wednesday.

The court’s verdict concerns provisions that were too vague or have not provided sufficient guarantees against possible misuse of personal data by state authorities, Constitutional Court Chair Ivan Fiacan reported.

“The Constitutional Court found that a part of the suspended legislation wasn’t sufficiently specific, as it allowed the state to process personal data without clearly defining the purpose of such processing and methods of handling personal data. Although, in another part of the suspended legislation the purpose was clear, the necessary guarantees against possible misuse of processed personal data were lacking,” said Fiacan, adding that the legal regulation did not take into account the possibility of obtaining the necessary data from less sensitive sources, or rather the possibility of achieving the intended purpose by another method, less restricting to fundamental rights.

Whether the disputed provisions are unconstitutional will be the subject of further proceedings. The amendment was challenged at the Constitutional Court by the opposition Smer-SD party, which objected to the violation of the right to privacy and the right to personal data protection.

The suspension of the amendment to the Telecommunications Act has been so far the most significant success of Smer-SD’s opposition policy, stated MP and Smer-SD Chairman Robert Fico at a press conference on Wednesday in response to the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

Smer-SD, which challenged the law at the court, objected that the Public Health Authority (UVZ) is to receive information about people without any control. The party also objected that people working for the office have no qualifications to process such data, and that there was no timeline in the law to determine from when to when the data would be collected, said Fico. He also objected that there was no control of the law. “In all our objections, the Constitutional Court said today that they have their justification and on that basis it ruled the suspension of this law,” said the MP.