The protection of my personal data
Nowadays I feel that my personal data is requested for everything from application forms at the university to a raffle at the neighborhood supermarket. I can never be sure how my data will be used, nor when or if somebody will abuse with it. That’s why it’s very important to know the existing options to protect and take control of my personal data.
The “personal data” includes much more than a personal identity number (PIN) and an identity card number. In brief, it is any information which could lead to my detection/identification. This includes everything related to my physical, psychological, economic, social and cultural identity. The address where I live is also information which is recognised as personal data; the IP of my computer too. All the documents related to my education, employment or those regarding my health are kinds of personal data.
How and by whom my data is used?
The legal processing of personal data contains different operations within: collection, recording, organization, storage, alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, distribution, updating, combination, blocking, erasure and ect. All these procedures are processed in legal compliance and in a bona fide manner.
People who operate with personal data are called personal data administrators. They could be part of the public authority or some organizations. The administrators define the purpose of processing and the manner of its implementation.
Often the processing is a legal obligation which is fulfilled by a government body. The importance is that never and in any way, the processing of my personal data cannot be done without my permission.
Sometimes it is not necessary to give a permission when the operation with my data needs to be done by the government authority in a public interest or to protect my health and life.
However, when my personal information is used for the purposes of art or journalism, my permission is not required. In addition, at any other terms the administrators must give me an answer if I have any questions about my personal data processing.
NB! It’s forbidden to be processed a personal data based on my racial/ethnic origin, political, religious or philosophical beliefs and a personal information concerning with my health and sexual life.
Exceptions of this principle are allowed only if I give my permission. This condition applies to:
- labor relations;
- when there is a danger for one’s life and health;
- the processing is performed by a nonprofit organization (NGO or foundation);
- in court proceedings;
- for the purposes of medicine, journalism and art.
Attention! Mobile operators are not allowed to take copies of my identity documents. The same goes for my employer – he could copy my personal identity card only with my permission.
In Bulgaria, there is a Commission for Personal Data Protection, which is an independent government body ensuring the protection of individuals in the processing of and access to their personal data, as well as the control on observation of the Law.
If I have reasonable suspicion related to the processing of my data, which is done by a particular administrator, I could address my complaints to the Commission. The complaint must contains information about me:
- my name, address, telephone number and e-mail contact;
- my request;
- other information / documents related to my complaint;
- date and signature.
Anonymous complaints are not considered!
If I choose to submit my complaint by e-mail or using the electronic complaining form on the website of the Commission, the complaint must contain my electronic signature and all the attached file (documents) must be translated in Bulgarian.
In one month after the submission of the complaint, I will receive information from the Commission about the actions that it has taken.
NB! If I don’t believe in the security of my personal data by the state, or if I have a suspicion related to the legal processing of my data, I could find protection regulated in many European conventions, regulations, directives and national laws. Some of them are shown as sources in the end of this article.
(*) The article aims to explain basic rights under Bulgarian law and it is not to be considered as a legal advisor. We strongly advise you to hire a lawyer, if you experience trouble understanding and using these rights. (*)
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§Law for Protection of Personal Data;
§ Rules on the activity of the commission for personal data protection and its administration;
§ Law for the civil registration;
§ Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data;
§ Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (directive on privacy and electronic communications);
§ Regulation (EU) № 211/2011 on the citizens’ initiative;
§ The universal declaration of human rights;
§ Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;
§ Convention 108 for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data.