Support to Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection on Marking the International Data Protection Day

Support to Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection on Marking the International Data Protection Day

January 29, 2020

USAID Government Accountability Initiative assisted the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection (CPI) to facilitate the Annual Conference on Personal Data Protection, held on 28 January 2020, on the occasion of marking the International Data Protection Day. The aim of the conference was to promote and raise awareness on the right to personal data protection and privacy. Mission Director Mike de la Rosa participated on the Conference panel and offered a message of support. He recalled USAID’s assistance in making governance institutions stronger and more accountable to the people.

The opening remarks were given by Mr Milan Marinović, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, H.E. Sem Fabrizi, Head of EU Delegation to Serbia, H.E. Andrea Orizio, Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, Mr. Tobias Flessenkemper, Head of Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, Mr Mike da la Rosa, Director of USAID Serbia and Mr Igor Vulje, Agency for the Protection of Personal Data of the Republic of Croatia, Head of the Supervision Division and Central Registry.

The Commissioner recalled the adoption of the new Law on Personal Data Protection that took effect on August 21, 2019 sharing the challenges related to its implementation. He reminded about the obligation of over 11,000 public authorities to appoint data protection officers while only around 1,500 fulfilled this requirement. He emphasized that the Commissioner’s focus in the next period will be on raising the awareness and delivery of training in this field emphasizing the importance of the prevention versus the repression.

The keynote speakers emphasized the importance of data protection as the fundamental right to privacy, as well as keeping an appropriate balance between individuals’ right to privacy and control over their own data, free flow of data, and the ability of businesses and public authorities to offer effective services. They have addressed the challenges related to non-regulated video surveillance and use of artificial intelligence in data collection and processing.

It has been highlighted that there is a need for the citizens to better understand what personal data is collected and processed about them and why, and what their rights are with respect to this processing. They should also be made aware of the risks inherent and associated with the illegal mishandling and unfair processing of their personal data.

Mr Igor Vulje from the Croatian Personal Data Protection Agency presented the Croatian institutional practices and governing laws on personal data protection and Mr Marko Milošević, Head of Reporting Division from the Commissioner’s office presented the Commissioner’s Publication “Personal Data Protection, regulations”.

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