Tunisia: New Personal Information Bill Threatens Digital Rights
On March 8, 2018, the Tunisian Ministerial Council approved the Law proposal No. 2018/025, on the protection of personal information. The law was, then, submitted to the People’s Assembly’s Committee on Rights, Freedoms and External Relations, for ratification. The assembly invited civil society organizations to submit edits/comments to the law. We detail the content of the submission by 15 Tunisian and International civil society and digital rights organizations.
The Law’s content threatens fundamental rights:
The bill does not include a clear definition of personal information. It does not provide a distinction between private life and public life.
While drafting this bill, the government did not consult with the Authority for Access to Information, thus disregarding the Act No. 22 of 2016 on access to information, which states in its chapter 38 that the Authority for Access to Information should give its opinion on draft laws and ordinances relating to the field of access to information.
The Committee on Rights, Freedoms and External Relations, limited the dialogue with the civil society on this bill to the mere submission of written reports.
Regarding these inadequacies, the co-signing organizations below:
– Condemn the violation by the Law proposal No. 2018/025 of the principles of transparency and access to information, guaranteed by the Tunisian Constitution (Chapter 32 ), through its unclear definition of personal information.
– Deplore the government’s violation of Act No. 22 of 2016 on access to information.
– Are surprised that the ratification process of this bill does not open the door to listen to the civil society, in violation ofthe key principles that ensurethe right of citizens to protect their own lives, without prejudice to their right to access to information, and their right to freedom of expression, as protected by articles 31 and 32 of the constitution.
– Demand the Committee on Rights, Freedoms and External Relations, to allow the associations and organizations, co-signing this declaration, to request a public hearing to present their proposals and observations, in recognition of the principle of partnership in the formulation of basic laws in the course of democratic transition after the revolution.