Montenegro MPs Urged to Curb Spying Proposal


News
03 Feb 15

Montenegro MPs Urged to Curb Spying Proposal

Three influential NGOs in Montenegro have urged parliament to look again at proposals to allow the security services to monitor and tap people without prior judicial approval.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

Three of the leading rights groups in Montenegro, MANS, Action for Human Rights and the Center for Civic Education, on Monday urged parliamentarians to amend the new law on the National Security Agency – concerned about proposals to allow warrantless surveillance.

Under the draft law proposed by the government in September, the secret service will be able to collect data “on the location and actions of any individual” only on the orders of the agency’s director. The proposed law sets no limits on the director’s discretionary right to spy on citizens, the NGOs claims.

Under current legal norms, such data can be collected only after the Supreme Court has given approval.

They rights groups say the changes deviate from the principles of the constitution and of the European Convention on Human Rights, which obliges governments to protect the individual against “arbitrary actions and interference in private life”.

“The proposed law allows for the unlimited arbitrary collection and automatic processing of all information about citizens, which undoubtedly includes their private life,” the organizations said in a statement.

The secret service has long been accused of unprofessional conduct and of acting under political and sometimes foreign influence.

Last year, the government announced wide-ranging reforms to ensure that the National Security Agency met NATO standards and to improve the way in which classified information is treated.

Faced with a deadline set by Brussels to make visible progress in reforming the security arena before earning an invitation to join NATO in 2015, Montenegro has also announced a major purge of its security forces.

Analysts said the perceived weaknesses of the intelligence agency were one of the key reasons for Montenegro not receiving an invitation to join NATO at its summit in Wales in September.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)