APDP should determine whether presidential candidates collected signatures legally

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) sent today to the Agency for the Protection of Personal Data and Free Access to Information (AZLP) an initiative to start the supervision procedure in the political entity of the Democratic Front (DF), i.e. in the case of the submitter of the candidacy of the presidential candidate Andrija Mandić, due to the well-founded suspicion that during the collection of support signatures, which are necessary for candidacy, there were violations of the provisions of the Personal Data Protection Act.

The CCE reminds that, in accordance with the Law on the Election of the President and the Instructions on the Content and Form of the Form for Submitting a Proposal for a Candidate for the President of Montenegro and the Form for Providing Voter Signatures in Support of a Candidate for the President of Montenegro, the candidate submitted the required signatures of support to the State Election Commission (SEC). The SEC has verified and confirmed the candidacy of this candidate.

In its initiative, the CCE pointed to Article 9 paragraph 1 point 7 of the Personal Data Protection Act, which defines special categories of personal data as personal data related to racial or ethnic origin, political opinion, religious or philosophical belief, membership in trade unions, as well as data related to health or sex life.

Additionally, in Article 13 of this Law, it is stated that special categories of personal data can be processed only with the direct consent of the person, as well as that they are specially marked and protected to prevent unauthorized access to that data, which in this case was not respected and which indicates a possible violation legal provisions.

Bearing in mind what has been said, the CCE initiated the supervision procedure in this political entity, asking the AZLP to determine the factual situation, and whether during the collection and subsequent processing of signatures of support, there were violations of the Personal Data Protection Act, i.e. whether all who gave their signature of support also signed their consent that their signatures can be used, as well as whether this political entity collected and processed them in accordance with the Law.

Mandić’s candidacy is, for now, the only one confirmed, and CCE will send the same initiatives to the AZLP concerning other subjects, after confirmation of their candidacies by the SEC. The CCE also expects more proactive action by the AZLP in applying the competencies of this institution.

Nikola Mirković, Programme associate