Tadić signs electronic communications law

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Boris Tadić has signed a set of laws on electronic communications adopted by the Serbian parliament.

Boris Tadić (Beta, file)
Boris Tadić (Beta, file)

"It is now necessary to improve Serbia's legal system in order to guarantee a balance between the citizens's right to safety and their other rights," he said.

"The Law on Electronic Communications will encourage and pave the way for a balanced market competition in this key infrastructure sector and secure protection of public interest," Tadić's press ofice said in a statement in Belgrade on Thursday.

The adoption of this law was, however, marked by a controversy.

In effect, the law envisages the creation of a data base on personal electronic communications of citizens, which will be available to security and police structures without a court order.

adić said he shared the concern of independent state institutions, the ombudsman and the commissioner for information of public importance and protection of personal information, with whom he discussed this subject.

"The public is well aware of the security challenges, risks and threats Serbia is facing, ranging from the threat of secession of a part of its territory to terrorist threats and organized crime, which has in the past seriously endangered key state resources and continues to do so today," he said

"European practices show that every country provides to its police and security services the best possible conditions for speedy and efficient work in securing the safety of all citizens."

"Nevertheless, respect of human rights and freedoms is one of the highest values on which Serbia is founded, and the state does not wish or have to make any concessions in this regard," the president was quoted.

"It is justified, following the adoption of this law, to reconsider and improve relevant parts of Serbia's legal system in order to guarantee a balance between the citizens's right to safety and their other rights," the statement concluded.

On June 29, the Serbian parliament adopted the law, according to which the operator must keep the data on electronic communications for 12 months.

This provision was criticized as unconstitutional by opposition parties and by Ombudsman Saša Janković.