Zagreb - Parliament on Tuesday sent a bill o amendments to the law on electronic communication to a second reading, which would legalise broader surveillance of citizens' mobile phones as a measure in the fight against coronarvirus.
Initially the bill was to go on fast track, however following a lot of criticism from opposition parties that it would lead to a violation of human rights and that the amendments were too general, the bill was put to regular parliamentary procedure.
The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) caucus proposed that the bill be sent to second reading in order to achieve the greatest concurrence possible on the bill which is aimed at preventing the epidemic from spreading and at protecting citizens and their health. The proposal was adopted by lawmakers with 89 votes in favour and 41 against.
HDZ whip Branko Bačić told reporters that the party had proposed a second reading because certain doubts regarding the bill emerged during the debate in parliament.
He added that all of the opposition's amendments and suggestions would be forwarded to the Government to give its opinion. "I do not know when and if the Government will forward the bill, but all possible activities that the law regulates will be taken into account. We will see whether it will refer only to citizens in self-isolation and to what extent when the bill is sent to second reading," Bačić said.
MP Peđa Grbin of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) said that the best thing would be for the bill to never make it to second reading considering its contents and the proposed measures' ineffectiveness. "It is unnecessary and bad and it would be good for the government to withdraw it," said Grbin.
SDP's amendments call for the bill to clearly define the circle of people who can be monitored, that the person be informed that they are under surveillance, that it defines the precise duration of surveillance and how data will be treated after the epidemic. SDP also called for supervision of the implementation of the surveillance measures.