Personal Data Protection in Georgia Approaching World Standards

Recently, a number of videos were shown on TV to educate citizens about personal data protection and their rights. The Personal Data Protection Inspector’s Office has existed in Georgia since 2013. According to the statistics of 2015, around 120 people applied, over 1200 consultations were given and 65 trainings and public lectures were delivered in which 1600 citizens took part. GEORGIA TODAY interviewed Nino Tsagareishvili, representative of the Foreign Relations Department of the Inspector’s Office.

Why was it decided to establish this service?

The Law of Georgia on Personal Data Protection, which entered into force in 2012, foresees the establishment of a supervisory authority - The Personal Data Protection Inspector in order to supervise and monitor the lawfulness of data processing and the implementation of data protection legislation. The establishment of this institution was also an obligation under the 2001 Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention 108 regarding supervisory authorities and cross-border data flows. Further, the visa liberalization process with the European Union necessitated carrying out comprehensive reforms in the field of data protection, including the adoption of relevant legislation, its practical implementation, effective operation of the Inspector’s Office and raising public awareness.

How is it possible to apply to the personal data inspector?

An individual can submit a complaint regarding an alleged violation of data protection rights online (by sending an e-mail or via Facebook) or call +995322421000.

Where can someone find information about their personal data?

Generally, one can get such information from the organization that processes the data. Various categories of data processed by public or private organizations are also available online on the Inspector’s website through the Filing System Catalogues. If someone is interested what is implied by personal data and how to control such data, he/she can apply to the Inspector’s Office for a consultation.

Can a person update their personal data?

A data subject is entitled to request the data controller to update the data if the data is incomplete, inaccurate, not updated, or was illegally collected and processed. Sucha request may be submitted either in writing, orally or by electronic means. Within 15 days of the request being received, a data controller is obliged to update the data or to inform the data subject of the grounds for refusal. The service is free of charge.

What is the difference between the approaches to foreigners and Georgians in your system?

There is no difference between foreigners and Georgians in our system. We treat each and every complaint and case equally, without distinction.

How can we be sure our personal data is well-protected?

In case of alleged violation of data protection rights, the Law of Georgia on Personal Data Protection provides several remedies to data subjects: this could be through the Court or the Office of the Personal Data Protection Inspector. The latter mechanism is cost effective and of course takes less time than cases dealt with in Court. The Inspector can utilize different measures to enforce the Law, such as:

• Force the elimination of the violation and the deficiencies related to data processing;

• Insist on temporary or permanent termination of data processing;

• Insist on termination of data processing, their blocking, deletion, destruction or depersonalization;

• Insist on termination of data transfer to other states and international organizations;

• Give written advice and recommendations;

• Impose fines.

Maka Lomadze

25 February 2016 18:58