Bulgaria’s head of state has sent a provision of the Law on Amendments and Supplements to the Personal Data Protection Act back to parliament for renewed debate.
The action has been taken by president Radev due to opposition to Article 26 of the Act, which relates to the processing of personal data for journalism, academia and literary expression.
President Radev has highlighted that for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to be implemented requires EU member states reaching agreement on rights relating to the protection of personal information, the right to expression and to access data.
At the same time, the new laws do not provision, or make any recommendation that one right should prevail over another, i.e. that the protection of personal data should be upheld for the sake of freedom of expression and information.
The president has stressed that the European regulation, which is the cause of the adopted changes, regulates too heavily, citing ten criteria relating to the ways in which journalists, researchers and writers should use personal data legitimately.
The requirement to satisfy these criteria poses other restrictions, and affects the essence of freedom of expression and information as a fundamental right.
President Radev asserted that the right balance has not yet been struck, and that the ten criteria referred to above constitute excessive regulation and unbalanced measures.
It is believed that too much regulation may be disruptive when it comes to the competition between personal data protection and the freedom of information and expression. As a result of this imbalance, the need to protect personal data will always be favoured.
As such, legal restrictions on basic constitutional freedoms are hidden within the broader data protection narrative.
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