How To Destroy Personal Data Collected During An Emergency

Gayane Asryan


The state of emergency in Armenia has ceased after September 11, which means that people’s personal data will no longer be collected from phones or used.

Telephone data stored for coronavirus prevention are subject to destruction within two weeks of the end of the state of emergency.

The law stipulates that representatives of the e-Government Infrastructure Implementation Office, the Personal Data Protection Agency, and all bodies and organizations that have accessed or processed the data during the state of emergency will participate in the process of destruction.

As well as one representative of the National Assembly factions may participate in the process without the right to process the data.

Data destruction is carried out by demagnetization of physical data carriers (hard disks of data center systems) and the method of physical destruction, in such a way that makes it impossible to recover the contents of the data.

During the state of emergency, Vahan Hunanyan, spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, said that the way described in the law on data destruction had been discussed with professionals for a long time. Thus, according to him, it becomes possible to completely destroy them.

Lawyer Movses Hakobyan says that there is no guarantee that it is practically impossible to return the destroyed data. “This is not only Armenia’s problem, today all the countries that have used this tool to prevent the infection cannot assure that there will be no leakage in the future and that the collected data will not be used for other purposes.”

According to him, from the point of view of the law, the issue is regulated, the issue is in the honesty of the people involved in the data collection process, information managers and managers.

Hakobyan says that there is already a bad practice in Armenia when one of the state agencies applied to mobile operators years ago to get personal data, after which they appeared on disks in the market and were distributed.

According to the lawyer, the only realistic solution to this case is public control, the more the public pays attention to the issue of leakage, the more sober and restrained the data holders will be.

The law on tracking the movement of people by telephone was adopted in the National Assembly in the second reading at the end of March after heated debates. The commandant assured that even if one person’s life is to be saved by the law, then it is worth accepting.

The public attitude towards the law was ambiguous, experts thought that it was not legal to collect and use such a large amount of information. They saw the tool as posing a danger in the future, to divert people to other gatherings for other purposes.

There are no official statistics yet on the risks of using personal data in the fight against the epidemic.

According to the law, the fact of data destruction is certified by a written protocol, which is signed by all persons involved in the destruction process and is subject to publication on the official website of the Government, as it is provided with a corresponding number of copies to all persons involved in the destruction process.

Gayane Asryan

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