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NGOs react to the unlawful dissemination of the information about the person’s health by the Ministry of Internal Affairs

27.12.2017

 
The under-signatory organizations are concerned with the violation of the constitutional right to privacy by the MIA, when they disseminated information about the health state of Tinatin Shengelia and call on the Personal Data Protection Inspector to immediately study the abovementioned fact and take all measures in accordance to the law. 

On December 22, 2017 the information was disseminated about the search in the house of the Khosiashvilis in Kistauri village. Reportedly, during the search, one of the family members, 31-years-old Tinatin Shengelia felt bad and she was placed in the intensive therapy unit.  On December 24, the MIA reacted to the fact and stated that “after the search, in the end of the day, one of the female members of the family felt bad. She was taken to the Ingorokva Medical Center. The General Inspection of the MIA is studying the case.”

On December 26, 2017 the MIA again made a statement about the disciplinary investigation of the fact by the General Inspection and provided the information about the health conditions of the woman in details. 

The Constitution of Georgia protects the private matters of a person. Namely, Article 41 Paragraph 2 of the Constitution states that “The information existing on official papers pertaining to individual’s health, his/her finances or other private matters, shall not be accessible to anyone without the consent of the individual in question except in the cases determined by law, when it is necessary for ensuring the state security or public safety, for the protection of health, rights and freedoms of others.”

The same right is guaranteed under the Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Rights and the Article 17 of the UN Pact on Civic and Political Rights. 

The Law of Georgia on the Personal Data Protection states that any information connected to an identified or identifiable natural person. A person shall be identifiable when he/she may be identified directly or indirectly, in particular by an identification number or by any physical, physiological, psychological, economic, cultural or social features specific to this person.

At the same time, the mentioned legislative act differentiates the personal data according to the “special categories of data”, which is connected to a person’s state of health too. Article 6 of the same law prohibits publishing of similar information without the consent of a data subject. 

In accordance to the Article 21 of the Law of Georgia on the Patient Rights, Competent patients may decide whether or not to allow anyone to receive information about their health status. In the case of a positive decision, the patient shall designate the person who is to receive the information. The decision and name of the person shall be entered into the medical records.”

We believe the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia violated the Georgian law by disseminating the abovementioned statement and published the data of special categories about the person without the consent of the data subject.

Considering the abovementioned situation:

We call on the Personal Data Protection Inspector of Georgia to start the probe in the MIA based on her own initiative and also study how the MIA obtained the abovementioned information; whether the medical clinic also violated the law by disclosing the information, and take all necessary measures under the law.

At the same time, we call on the MIA to refrain from publishing the similar information in future to combat violation of the constitutional rights of the citizens.

  • Georgian Democracy Initiative  (GDI)
  • Institute of Democracy and Secure Development (IDSD)
  • Human Rights Center (HRC)
  • Union Sapari
  • Media Development Fund (MDF)

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