DRI – Personal data protection is formality until releasing private life videos remains a method to fight against political opponents

Today, January 28, the international Data Protection Day is being celebrated for the 14th time. This initiative of the Council of Europe aims to raise awareness in the field of personal data protection.

Although the adoption of the Law of Georgia on Personal Data Protection was justifiably an important step forward, it failed to prevent large-scale violations of the right to privacy.

On January 28, 2019, the video footage showing the private life of a female politician was released via social network. Although the Prosecutor's Office, due to high public interest, arrested a number of individuals for allegedly releasing the footage, the identity of the person who organized the release of the video is still unknown. The promise of the incumbent Prime Minister and the then Minister of Internal Affairs that the source of the release of the video would be identified in the near future has not been fulfilled either. It should be noted that the release of the footage coincided with the confrontation of the female politician with an influential political group.

Last year's incident was not the first case of blackmailing and influencing public persons with the discolure of their private life.  In 2016, many well-known persons were threatened or became victims of the release of videos showing private, intimate life.[1] However, the persons who allegedly released the videos have not been identified and the public has not been provided with complete information about the investigation either. It is worth noting that most of the alleged victims were politically active women.

The Democracy Research Institute considers that until the release of video footage of private life or such threats  remains a way to combat political opponents and until the organizers are not punished, it is impossible to say that the right to privacy enshirned in the Georgian legislation is protected in the country.