As the coronavirus pandemic pushes education, healthcare and other public services online and puts huge amounts of personal data in the digital domain, the protection of citizens’ privacy has become an important issue in Georgia.
This was the main message of the week-long campaign supported by the European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which started on January 22 and will culminate in an online conference on January 28 on the occasion of Data Protection Day.
The week-long campaign engaged state agencies, civil society, schools and citizens, and covered a wide array of topics from processing health-related information and using social media to launching new educational programs in data protection.
It’s vital to inform citizens, as well as the public and private sectors about safeguarding and protecting out personal data. To achieve this, the Government of Georgia is taking measures to improve the legal environment and introduce international best practices. As part of the state effort, the position of Personal Data Protection Officer will be created in private and public institutions under a new law”, said State Inspector Londa Toloraia.
Once in force, the new Law on Personal Data Protection will ensure that each organisation designates an official for personal data protection.
The new law will also align Georgia with EU standards for data protection.
Several Georgian universities signed a memorandum with the State Inspector’s Service of Georgia (SIS) today to introduce new educational programmes in data protection and create more opportunities in this field for Georgian students.
The EU, UNDP and OHCHR have been supporting personal data protection in Georgia since 2013, when the Office of the Personal Data Protection Inspector (the legal predecessor of the State Inspector’s Service) was established.
This support included assistance in developing a legislative framework for the efficient operation of the service, public awareness and education campaigns focused on youth and civil servants.
EU and UN support to the SIS will continue until 2023, under an EU-funded EUR 2.5 million (about $3 million) programme, Human Rights for All, aimed at promoting and protecting human rights in Georgia.