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Data State Inspectorate, Latvia

  1. The Legal Grounds for the Protection of Personal Data in Latvia
  2. The Legal Position of the Data State Inspectorate
  3. The Legal Rights of the Data State Inspectorate
  4. The Restrictions of the Activities of the Data State Inspectorate
  5. Contact
1. Legal Grounds for the Data Protection in Latvia.

The legal grounds for the data protection are fortified in the Constitution of Latvia (adopted on February 14, 1922). After regaining independecy the former constitution was reinforced. As additional law to the constitution constitutional law "Human and citizen rights and freedoms" was adopted (December 10, 1991). It sets the main human rights and freedoms with separation of citizens and non-citizens. Particularly this aspect was criticized the most, therefore the constitutional law was abolished with amendments to the constitution adopted October 23, 1998. Nowadays Constitution contains full layout of fundamental freedoms and rights of individual including protection of individual's private life.

The Constitution of the Republic of Latvia (art. 96)

Everyone has the right to inviolability of their private life, home and correspondence.

More detailed regulation is stated in Personal Data Protection Law, wich was adopted by parliament of Latvia. Personal Data Protection Law came into full force since January 1 2001 when supervisory authority of personal data procession - Data State Inspectorate was established.

For full text of Personal Data Protection Law see [http://www.dvi.gov.lv]

Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regards to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (No 108) - On the 30th May 2001 the Parliament of Latvia ratified the Convention No 108 and it came into force on the 1st September 2001.

Republic of Latvia also hav accepted the amendments of 15th June 1999 allowing the European Communities to accede to this Convention.

2. The legal position of the Data State Inspectorate.

According to Personal Data Protection Law the supervision on personal data processing, its lawfulness and fairness is carried on by Data State Inspectorate.

All state and local government institutions, and other natural persons and legal persons which carry out or wish to commence carrying out personal data processing, and establish systems for personal data processing, shall register these systems in accordance with Personal Data Protection Law. Data State Inspectorate carries out registration of above mentioned personal data protection systems.

Data State Inspectorate is subject to the supervision of the Ministry of Justice. Data State Inspectorate is managed by a director who is appointed and released from his or her position by the Cabinet of Ministers pursuant to the recommendation of the Minister for Justice.

Such legal regulation has suffered critics from legal experts of European Commission. The rectify this situation, the amenmdents are prepared and submited to Parliament in order to achieve greater administrative and political independence of Data State Inspectorate.

The draft amendments foresee preparation of a separete law for legal status of Data State Inspectorate, appointment and work of director of Inspectorate and its officers.

Data State Inspectorate shall act in accordance with statute approved by the Cabinet. Every year the State Data Inspectorate shall submit a report on its activities to the Cabinet and shall publish it in the newspaper Latvijas Vetsnesis1.

1 The official gazette of the Government of Latvia.

3. The Legal Rights of the Data State Inspectorate.

According to the Personal Data Protection Law Article 29 third part the duties of Data State Inspectorate in the field of personal data protection are as follows:

1) to ensure compliance of personal data processing in the State with the requirements of this Law;
2) to take decisions and review complaints regarding the protection of personal data;
3) to register personal data processing systems;
4) to propose and carry out activities aimed at raising the effectiveness of personal data protection; and
5) together with the Office of the Director General of the State Archives of Latvia, to decide on the transfer of personal data processing systems to the State archives for preservation thereof.

Article 29 (forth part)

In the field of personal data protection, the rights of Data State Inspectorate are as follows:

1) in accordance with the procedures prescribed by regulatory enactments, to receive, free of charge, information from natural persons and legal persons as is necessary for the performance of functions pertaining to inspection;
2) to perform inspection of a personal data processing system prior to its registration;
3) to require that data be blocked, that incorrect or unlawfully obtained data be erased or destroyed, or to order a permanent or temporary prohibition of data processing; and
4) to bring an action in court for violations of this Law.

Article 30.

(1) In order to perform the duties mentioned in Section 29, Paragraph three of this Law, the director of Data State Inspectorate and the inspectors authorised by the director, upon presenting their official identification cards, have the right:

1) to freely enter any non-residential premises where personal data processing systems are located, and in the presence of a representative of the system controller carry out necessary inspections or other measures in order to determine the compliance of the personal data processing procedure with law;
2) to require written or verbal explanations from any natural or legal person involved in personal data processing;
3) to require that documents are produced and other information is provided which relate to the personal data processing system being inspected;
4) to require inspection of a personal data processing system, or of any facility or information carrier of such, and to determine that an expert examination be conducted regarding questions subject to investigation;
5) to request assistance of officials of law enforcement institutions, if required, in order to ensure performance of its duties; and
6) to prepare and submit materials to law enforcement institutions in order for offenders to be held to liability, if required.

(2) The officials of Data State Inspectorate involved in registration and inspections shall ensure that the information obtained in the process of registration and inspections is not disclosed, except information accessible to the general public. Such prohibition shall also remain in effect after the officials have ceased to fulfil their official functions.

4. The Restrictions of the Activities of the Data State Inspectorate.

Activities of Data State Inspectorate are limited according to the regulations of Personal Data Protection Law, where several exceptions have been set.

Existing version (July, 2002) of Personal Data Protection Law states that Article 3. (second part) Personal Data Protection Law does not apply to the information systems made by natural persons in which personal data are processed for personal or household and family purposes and in which the personal data collected are not disclosed to other persons. (third part) This Law does not apply to the processing of personal data carried out by public institutions in the fields of national security and criminal law.

After forthcoming amendments to this law, previously mentioned excemptions will be removed and Data State Inspectorate will obtain rights to supervise data processing in the criminal and national security spheres. The expected legal texting will state, that personal data which are classified as "state secret" the Personal Data Protection Law are applied as far as Law "On State Secret" states otherwise. According to Personal Data Protection Law Article 30 decisions taken by Data State Inspectorate may be appealed to a court

5. Contact.

Data State Inspectorate

Blaumana str. 11/13 - 15
Riga, LV-1011, Latvia,

Phone: +371 672 231 31
Fax: +371 672 235 56
web sites: www.dvi.gov.lv

  The administrator of this web site is:
Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data
ul. Stawki 2; PL-00-193 Warszawa
Phone: +48 (22) 531 03 00, Fax: +48 (22) 531 03 01, e-mail: kancelaria@giodo.gov.pl