ZAGREB – Opposition criticises COVID-19 surveillance bill

While the Government’s April package of measures to bail out the economy affected by the coronavirus crisis received strong support, a bill legalising the broader surveillance of mobile phones as a measure to fight the coronavirus was sent to a second reading following criticism by opposition parties. 

To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in Croatia, check here.

Croatian Democratic party (HDZ) whip Branko Bacic told reporters that the party had proposed a second reading because doubts regarding the bill emerged during the debate in parliament.

MP Pedja Grbin of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) said the bill was ”unnecessary and bad and it would be good for the government to withdraw it”. The SDP made calls to amend the bill so that it clearly defines the circle of people who can be monitored and that those under surveillance be informed of it. The SDP also called for the precise duration of surveillance and how data will be treated after the epidemic to be defined.

As the current amendments to the bill are considered too vague, there is a fear these will lead to human rights violations.

”The Government doesn’t care about who talks with who on the mobile phone,” Prime Minister Andrej  Plenković told a reporter while answering a question about mobile surveillance, adding that “this applies only to COVID, the context of self-isolation and the fact that we need to be disciplined”.  (Karla Junicic | EURACTIV.hr)

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