Changes in Law. Online privacy to be introduced in article 178 of Penal Code

Judges will no longer have the freedom interpret article 178 of the Penal Code of Republic of Moldova as they please, which is about correspondence secrecy. The document might become more clear regarding the right of secrecy on social networks. Due to the article's flexibility, many managed to evade punishments.

At the moment, the Penal Code imposes sanctions for privacy invasion of letters, parcels and phone calls, but it lacks any mention of online chatting. Authorities claim that due to increasing popularity of modern means of communication, a change to bring more clarity in the law is required.

"Just because it is not yet written in the Penal Code, does not mean that people go unpunished. By changing article  178 we wish to set it straight, remove any sort of flexibility" Justice Minister, Vladimir Cebotari declared.

According to data offered by Center for Combating Cyber Crime, of the General Police Inspectorate, since the beginning of the year 11 cases were opened for privacy invasion of correspondence.

"The moment it is proved that the suspect accessed an email address, or social network and read the conversation of the account's administrated, that person is called to the court" officer from Center for Combating Cyber Crime, Sergiu Lisnic explained.

People admit that there were cases when strange would read the conversations they had online, but they do not rush to write a complain.
Still, they claim to protect their privacy the best they can, but sometimes it is impossible:

"-It is very unpleasant, to know that someone read what I wrote to another person. -Have you addressed the police or court for it? -No, it would be useless, they would care only if it were state secretes."

"I have never noticed. Perhaps it could happen in transport, or someplace similar. Nobody can ensure that our conversations are 100% protected."

"Has someone hacked my email address? I think there were attempts, as it would often require me to set better security."

IT experts urge us to be more careful and defend our privacy rights when they are breached.

"We leave a place, but forget our email or Facebook open. It means that anyone can see it and read our messages. It is not hard to prove, since whenever someone is on an account, the website shows us data regarding of when and where it was accessed" IT specialist Cristi Dorombach explained.

In 2016, General Prosecutor's Office have opened 8 criminal investigation for violation of privacy in correspondence. Breaching article 178 from Penal Code is punished with up to 27 500 lei, or 120 to 180 hours of unpaid community service.

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