Internet eavesdropping commences

Internet eavesdropping commences

Internet eavesdropping conducted by the Bulgarian Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security commenced on May 10 2010, the private Bulgarian television channel bTV reported.The legislation was approved by the Bulgarian Parliament on February 17 2010. The amendments to the Electronic Communications Act were approved, but only after serious concessions. The new legislation aims to help the authorities tackle "serious crime", the report said.Those amendments were approved by Parliament's internal security and public order committee on February 3, and left in the possibility for police to access communication data for crimes that carry sentences of less than five years, including causing death by negligence, threatening an officer, threat of murder, soliciting prostitution and providing premises for prostitution, acquisition or distribution of pornographic material, vote-buying and illegal border crossings.At the proposal of opposition parties and the Blue Coalition, the amendments were revised to include only serious crimes carrying a minimum jail sentence of five years, and computer crimes.Earlier, the Interior Ministry had given up its demand to have permanent, direct access to personal communication data.Additionally, mobile phone and Internet operators will have to supply requested communication data within 72 hours and not, as Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov demanded initially, within two hours.The Interior Minister, or his representative, would have the right to set a different deadline, shorter or longer, in exceptional cases and depending on the severity of the case.

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