Friday, May 16, 2014

Pondering Anti-Eavesdropping Laws, or Georgia on Your Mind (updated)

The parliament of Georgia has started discussions over the draft law on the protection of the security of private life and on illegal surveillance. The parliamentary majority claims that the draft reflects European Union conventions, while the minority stresses that the draft grants too much power to enforcement bodies.

The development of the draft began nearly one year ago. NGOs intensively demanded the adoption of the law against illegal eavesdropping, especially when thousands of recordings illegally typed under the previous government were destroyed. The NGOs, former officials, and members of the United National Movement (UNM) claim that the Interior Ministry still actively eavesdrops on people. (more)

In other Georgia news...
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia has launched an investigation over secret recordings aired by Rustavi 2 on May 10.  

Several days ago the head of Rustavi 2 Nika Gvaramia stated that the company was being eavesdropped upon. He also displayed recordings reflecting the process. Gvaramia stressed that the recordings was delivered to the channel by an informer from the Interior Ministry. According to the TV program Aktsentebi, the audio recordings, which were made in 2013, feature phone conversations between several high ranking officials. This is all during the time that Mikheil Saakashvili was president and Ugulava was Tbilisi’s mayor.

Rustavi 2 TV claims that the offices of its top executives were bugged by the current authorities. However, the prosecutor’s office states that the offices were possibly bugged in December 2012 by a security agency, which at the time was under President Saakashvili’s subordination. The office claimed these devices were used to record private conversations so they could be later used to blackmail or to discredit evidence. (more)