Upon the Commissioner’s warning MoI erased personal data files processed without legal grounds

The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection received a letter from the Ministry of Interior (MoI) informing him that all police departments had formed commissions which erased (destroyed by burning) personal data processed without legal grounds in security sector files, in the period 28 November 2017 - 07 December 2017, and that the Ministry thus fully complied with the Commissioner’s warning.

Previously, in June 2017, the Commissioner (following his investigation into the case publicly known as "collection of the data on F diagnosis") issued a warning to the Ministry of Interior  that it was unlawfully processing particularly sensitive personal data on citizens’ health status contained in the security sector files in forms "D14 - examination of patients with mental health problems", as well as the personal data of some other categories of persons (for example, present, retired and former employees of the MoI residing in the sector, persons having amateur radio stations, sports fans, etc.) without legal grounds or consent of the persons.

At the beginning of July 2017, the MoI responded to the warning by saying that "the General Police Directorate, the Police Directorate and the Traffic Police Directorate will start preparing the proposal of Mandatory instructions on the manner of organizing the work in the security sector aimed at permanently remedying the irregularities in the Commissioner's Warning ".

Even at the time, the Commissioner then emphasized that it is very important to prepare the above Instructions and start implementing them as soon as possible to overcome numerous problems inherited from the past and tolerated for too long.

In line with the aforementioned, the Commissioner estimates that the MoI has made a positive step forward by erasing, or destroying  personal data from files maintained without valid legal grounds, however, he repeats his warning that a lot more is required to resolve all issues related to personal data processing in the area of interior, and in general. A complete, radical change in the attitude of all competent authorities, and above all the Serbian Government, towards the very poor status in this area.

Regarding the situation in the field of interior, the Commissioner reminds that, back in 2014, the Ministry of Interior prepared the Draft Law on Records and Data Processing in the Field of Internal Affairs in good cooperation with the Commissioner, with the aim of removing all difficulties in the implementation and enforcement of the Law on Personal Data Protection. However, the procedure for passing this Law has not been implemented to date.