Community Law Centers’ lawyers from Odessa, Lviv and Kovel have put together their knowledge and abilities to protect the citizens’ right to privacy.
Indeed, lately in the country a lot of cases of violation of privacy and personal information have been registered. The perpetrators were State institutions but also commercial structures and individuals. Last year such violations were exceptionally numerous, due to mass manifestations and other revolutionary events in Ukraine.
It is easy to abuse people’s lack of legal knowledge and obtain from them personal information through different on-line forms and promises of discount. Even worse, databases of personal information are afterwards sold to banks, exchange offices, mobile firms etc. Sometimes, State officials participate in these fraudulent schemes because of lack of understanding of the problem or because of offered bribes and remuneration. Different databases of personal information, including passport copies and numbers, are freely available on the Internet.
Illegal information is often used during elections for falsification of votes. Moreover, copies of passports are used to get credits, buy and sell property, conduct other commercial frauds. Personal information can also be a mean of pressure or black-mail of political leaders and business partners. However, the most dangerous tendency is the State willing to over-control its citizens through informational manipulation.
How to solve the problem
First of all, people need to receive legal information and learn their rights. Legal aid can help prevent identity thieve and protect our right to privacy. Furthermore, through monitoring it is possible to verify how the Law of Ukraine “On protection of personal data” is implemented and respected. Monitoring will permit found the main problems and help elaborate recommendations to the existing legislations.
What will be done by Community Law Centers
In February the three Community Law Centers of Lviv, Kovel and Odessa started to provide free legal aid to citizens who were victims of identity thief and divulgation of personal information. In the future, our lawyers will formulate a typical procedure for such cases and will collect specific cases for strategic litigation. Citizens will receive information about their rights and en educational campaign will be conducted in the three towns. During this campaign people will receive informational booklets and materials and will have the opportunity to participate in special trainings.
Starting from 2014 lawyers will also collect from all available sources information about privacy abuse during revolution. Indeed, in November 2013 – February 2014 one of the typical offenses was illegal circulation of private information about activists that put their lives at risk. A monitoring report will be prepared to respond to this one question: who was illegally using personal data of Ukrainians?