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GYLA: Amendments to law on information security allow for mass state control

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, January 16
The Georgian Young Lawyers' Association has submitted a report to the Parliament on the bill initiated by MP Irakli Sesiashvili, proposing amendments to the Law on Information Security.

According to GYLA's conclusion, if the bill is approved, the state will have access to information from public agencies, internet service providers and legal entities and will be able to control any information posted on the Internet:

“According to the draft law, the Critical Information System subjects will be divided into three categories: the first category will include public agencies, the second category - ISPs (e.g. Magti, Silknet), and the third category - legal entities of private law. The initiative stipulates that the first and second categories will be supervised by the LEPL Operational-Technical Agency within the sphere of governance of the State Security Service, while the third category will be supervised by the LEPL Data Exchange Agency under the Ministry of Justice of Georgia.”

The Operational-Technical Agency subordinate to the state security service will be granted with the authority to have direct access to the information and information assets of public authorities, as well as to network sensors.

It may require ISPs to set up a network sensor and, with the consent of the provider, be granted access to the network sensor. However, the GYLA suggests that the agency may be able to monitor the information with the consent of the Internet provider.

"The agency may require access to information and assets from a second category entity (ISP), however, the entity's consent is not mandatory," states GYLA's report.

Accordingly, GYLA suggests that once the bill is approved, the agency will have the direct ability to control any information posted online.

Accordingly, the draft law will have direct access to public agencies' information, including personal information and network sensors, and indirectly access to information exchanged through ISPs will allow the agency to control any information accessed through the Internet.

It is also noteworthy that the process of consideration of this draft law is subject to substantial violations, as it provides for important grounds for restriction of fundamental rights, while the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Integration do not participate in the discussion as a mandatory committee.

The GYLA calls on the parliament "not to allow the draft to be adopted in the proposed form and to discuss the draft only through broad public engagement and discussion."

To ensure information security in the country, Irakli Sesiashvili, Chairman of the Parliament's Committee on Defense and Security, prepared the bill last year. According to him, the state security service will have access to the information of various agencies and will also control their information systems.

The initiator of the bill, Sesiashvili, disagrees with the threats listed by his opponents.