Latvia to ease restrictions on state secrets

  • 2008-10-31
  • TBT Staff in cooperation with BNS

The new bill would restrict what information could be classified as secret.

RIGA 's The Latvian parliamenthas thrown its support behind amendments submitted by the Cabinet that wouldease the criteria for what constitutes a state secret.

According to the bill, criteria for defining the level of informationsecrecy, stating that information, which has been "Very Secret" nowwill be "Secret." This would include information about deteriorating relationsbetween countries resulting in interrupted economic relations on economicsanctions imposed on Latvia.

The category "Very Secret" would refer to significant statescientific or technological inventions.

The bill also provides stricter criteria for assigning category"Confidential," aligning it with the definition of information"For Business Needs" planned in the new information publicity bill.

State Chancery legal department representative Andris Lacis said that theaim of the amendments is to prevent the current problems in relation withcirculation of information. He said that so far some information hasungroundedly been assigned the status of confidentiality which made access toit more difficult, laying obstacles to efficient organization of work in stateadministration institutions.

The amendments should come into force from January 2009.

Parliament has so far only approved the bill in principle, however, and willstill have to hold an official vote on whether to pass the amendments into law.

The bill will be submitted to the parliament along with the new informationpublicity bill and amendments to the National Security Law.