Illegal use of biometric data to become punishable by up to 5 years in prison

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Parliament held its final discussions of the bill on the protection of personal information and draft revisions of the Law on Public Information and Law on e-Signature during its plenary session on Thursday.

During the session, lawmakers supported the proposal to impose a prison sentence of six months to five years for any illegal use of biometric data in order to tighten penalties for disclosure of personal information and secrets.

The bill defines terms such as personal privacy, sensitive information, controller, processor, and genetic and biometric information based on the standards of other countries, and regulates conditions for the collection, processing and use of sensitive personal and biometric data and their use for historical, scientific research and analysis purposes.

It also includes regulation on the placement of audio and video recording equipment, requirements for audio and video recording systems, and relevant prohibitions and control.

According to State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs B.Baasandorj, an important provision in the bill is on the inspection on whether the law is properly enforced at public service facilities. There should be no audio or video recordings in private dining rooms. Only video recordings should be allowed in public halls, he said.

He noted that camera footages of apartments would be provided for view with the permission of households living on the respective floor and law enforcement agencies. Anyone who discloses or disseminates sensitive or confidential information will be liable under the Criminal Code. If a piece of personal information is disclosed to others, a culprit will be liable under the Law on Infringements, said B.Baasandorj.

The state secretary informed that the main concept of the draft revision of the Law on Public Information is to ensure the right of citizens to seek and receive information in accordance with the grounds and procedures outlined in the law, conduct state activities in an electronic form by creating a public information system, and establish public supervision over government activities.

“Public information is classified as open, restricted, or closed. Closed information is defined as state secrets and information that is considered to be closed by the law while restricted information is information that is restricted by law or information that can be accessed and used with the consent of individuals and legal entities and information related to official use,” he added.

In accordance with the bill, a person or legal entity will have the right to use, store, collect and transmit people’s personal and business secrets to other persons only with his or her consent. In other words, information of a person or legal entity cannot be accessed without the respective person’s consent. There will be a system in place to notify the owner of the information whenever their information is viewed, used, modified, or transmitted. The system requires to be operated without the involvement of officials and employees. Article 18.4.5 of the draft law specifically provides for a notification system.

With the approval of the draft revision of the Law on e-Signature, the General Authority for State Registration (GASR) will provide all citizens with an electronic signature free of charge to create conditions for citizens to receive public and banking services online.

The bill reflects that a citizen is allowed to have as many types of electronic signatures as they want. However, a certain fee will be charged by a specially permitted company if their additional electronic signature is to be used by an employee, according to Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs Kh.Nyambaatar.

“If this law is approved, current GASR employees will be responsible for issuing e-signatures without having to increase the number of staff. Expenditures related to e-signature infrastructure have been included in the 2022 state budget. It is estimated that up to nine positions will be added to the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs to establish the necessary infrastructure for e-signatures,” State Secretary B.Baasandorj stressed.

In connection with the introduction of the bills, no comments were received from any legislators.

Parliament instructed relevant standing committees to prepare the bills for parliamentary approval.

Misheel Lkhasuren