The Latvian government has approved and will pass on to the parliament (Saeima) a law allowing the Security Police, without a court order, to track people's location through their mobile phones, to get records of their conversations and SMS traffic, as well as to track e-mail correspondence and fixed-line phone traffic.
This was reported by the investigative TV show Nekā personīga (Nothing Personal) on TV3 on April 5. According to the reporter, the police will be able to ask for records that are at least 18 months old, but it is unclear whether the Security Police and other institutions, such as the Criminal Police, the State Revenue Service and the Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution (SAB) could be able to obtain real time data.
The law was drafted by the Security Police, which says it has no difficulty getting court orders for wiretapping and tracking mobile phone users.
The TV3 investigators said there had been cases of police authorities threatening to conduct searches of mobile operators who failed to comply (this prior to the law being proposed or passed). Legal experts contacted by TV3 said the draft law represented a violation of European human rights laws.
One wonders whether this legislation is aimed at flash mobs, the Penguin Movement and any activities using e-mail and SMS to organize protests and, yes, civil disobedience and ultimately, violence against government institutions.
There is still some hope that a domestic and international outcry could deter the Saeima from passing this law.