22:00 / 20.04.2022.


Bill would expand which agencies have access to banking data

Will personal banking data be protected?

Will personal banking data be protected?

Foto: Dnevnik HTV / HRT

Croatian citizens should not be concerned that someone will be monitoring their bank accounts because of a bill that would give access to state prosecutors, the police, and the Custom and Tax Administration access to registry of bank accounts held by private citizens and companies, State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance Stjepan Ćuraj told reporters on Wednesday.

The government has drafted a bill to comply with an EU directive and Ćuraj says absolute protection of personal data is written into the legislation.

“People need not fear that someone is going to be looking into their accounts unnecessarily. This is something that will be decided by the courts, as has been the case up until now,” Ćuraj said.

He said that the bill would streamline the administrative process for these agencies to access the registry but it does not give them access to account balances or transactions, only information on the actual holders of accounts and safety deposit boxes and individuals authorized by the owners to have access to those accounts.

“The goal is to speed up investigations and the process of filing criminal charges if warranted,” Ćuraj said.

The Focus party said it was opposed to the expansion of the number of institutions that will have access to the private accounts of citizens and businesses, warning that it could lead to abuses of power by these entities.

Fokus president Davor Nađi, says that such a bill threatens the privacy of citizens, and he does not want state institutions to have access to someone's account without justification and a court order.

"Let's just remember how the intelligence system has been abused in the past, such as wiretapping the mistresses of famous politicians or how the GDPR, which is supposed to protect citizens' privacy, has eventually become a tool for political non-transparency," Nadji said.

Focus proposes that commercial banks should be required to inform their clients as soon as a request for access to the account is submitted.

The draft of the bill is currently under public comment.

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