Parliament approves law change to prevent hidden surveillance

Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili said today Parliament's 2015 budget would not increase., 29 May 2014 - 21:46, Tbilisi,Georgia

Parliament of Georgia adopted a comprehensive legislative package to prevent hidden surveillance with 97 votes in favour and zero against at its first hearing at a special sitting in Parliament today.

The approved law changes set new regulations for protecting personal data of Georgian citizens.

The initiative was introduced to Parliament last summer but the adoption process was postponed as law enforcement agencies did not agree with some of the proposed points.

The United States Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland praised the country for having such a comprehensive legislative package approved.

"Every country is grappling with the issue about how to find a balance between privacy and demands of national security,” he said.

"I think Georgia has made remarkable progress compared to any other country of the former Soviet space in getting rid of the legacy of surveillance and spying and this kind of thing from the past.”

At the same sitting today, Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili also announced the Parliament budget would not increase in 2015.

He said next year’s projected budget had become a controversial topic and society did not want to see it increased.

"So the majority decided the 2015 budget should remain the same as it was in 2014,” Usupashvili said.

On May 16 Parliament proposed to increase its budget – currently around 55 million GEL – by two million. Parliament said the extra money would go to increased staff salaries and upgrading fleet vehicles.

After today’s sitting, Parliament closed its doors until June 27 while the self-local elections are held. The elections will take place on June 15.