Personal data protection of LGBTQI+ communities in Georgia
The research examines widespread practices related to the personal data protection of LGBTQI+ people and provides recommendations for public agencies and the civil and private sectors to raise existing standards and fill in the gaps.
Commissioned by the European Union and UNDP, the research was carried out by the non-governmental organization “Rule of Law Centre” with contributions from civil society organizations “Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group” (WISG), “Equality Movement” and “Identoba Youth”.
- The healthcare sector often collects the personal data of LGBTQI+ community members in an insulting manner and without a legal basis. Excessive data collection and intentional or accidental disclosure of confidential information are common practices. Most healthcare institutions lack the organizational and technical capacities needed to gather, process and protect personal data.
- Similar problems are registered with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The personal data of LGBTQI+ community members are being collected in a humiliating manner and without legal grounds. There are cases when criminal case information provided by an LGBTQI+ person is disclosed to an unauthorized third party or when data protection measures are not in place. For example, a crime witness and a victim can be interviewed at the same time in a shared space while interview protocols can be accessible to unauthorized third parties.
- Lawyers often disclose confidential personal data in their media interviews or on social media. This includes information on the sexual orientation and gender identity of court case participants.
- Psychologists and therapists disclose the confidential personal data of their patients without their consent.
- Georgian legislation does not consider personal data protection as a ground for closing a court hearing for the public. Judges usually do not grant relevant requests submitted by LGBTQI+ community members involved in civil or administrative cases.
- Public Service Hall employees sometimes use personal data for unofficial purposes or disclose it to third parties. The open-plan arrangement of Public Service Halls increases the risk of accidental data disclosure.
- Journalists often disclose information about the sexual orientation and gender identity of their respondents, violating the standards of journalistic ethics and personal data protection.
- Discrimination in the workplace is another challenge faced by the LGBTQI+ community. Sexual orientation and gender identity increase the risk of losing a job and can lead to humiliating treatment and personal data disclosure.
- The Personal Data Protection Authority does not segregate its statistical data by the cases related to the personal data protection of LGBTQI+ people. This makes it hard to analyse its actions and decisions.
- LGBTQI+ people are reluctant to respond to their personal data violation cases. Partly because they often lack information on data privacy and personal data protection, and partly because they feel vulnerable and uncomfortable contacting law enforcement authorities.
- Civil society organizations working to protect the rights of LGBTQI+ communities need support to increase their expertise and capacities in personal data protection.