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Lawmakers propose international convention on personal data protection

November 25, 2013, 12:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia's Senator Gattarov explains the need for a unified document as existing international agreements are restricted, which may cause mass violation of citizens' rights in many countries

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© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Ryumin

MOSCOW, November 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Federation Council upper house of parliament is initiating a discussion on the establishment of a uniform international convention on the protection of the rights of personal data owners under the aegis of the UN.

According to Chairman of the Federation Council interim commission on the information society development Ruslan Gattarov (representing the Chelyabinsk Oblast), this proposal has been discussed in the United States at a meeting of Gattarov and Russia's Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov with Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin.

Gattarov explained the need to create a unified document by the fact that the “existing international agreements in this sphere are restricted, and given the trans-border nature of the Internet this may cause mass violation of citizens' rights in many countries.”

In particular, he said, the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, which has also been ratified by Russia, “is virtually limited by the European Union’s borders.” “For example, the United States has refused to ratify it, and now Internet corporations, a considerable number of which is registered in the United States, have the right to disregard the Convention’s clauses when promoting their services abroad,” the Federation Council member explained. “In addition, when amid exposures of (NSA leaker) Edward Snowden many countries tried to learn how personal data of their citizens are used, serious problems in related international communications immediately came to light,” he added.

The Federation Council commission head also stressed that “the laws of different countries do not always agree with each other, and Internet corporations have a very limited number of offices through which the government agencies could make inquiries.” “Considering the fact that the number of electronic personal data is growing exponentially, there is a need to work out uniform rules of the game,” he said.

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