The Prime Ministry submitted a revised Draft Data Protection
Bill ("Draft Bill") to the Grand
National General Assembly of Turkey, dated 18 January 2016. Earlier
draft legislation on this topic had been submitted in 2014, but the
recent Draft Bill contains a number of significant changes compared
to the earlier document. The Draft Bill expands definitions of
"sensitive data", as well as makes changes to
the proposed structure and appointment methods for the Data
Protection Authority ("Authority"). The
Draft Bill's provisions relating to data transfers and
appointment of data protection officers are generally similar to
the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.
The 2016 Action Plan of the 64thGovernment (dated 10 December
2015) specifically states that data protection legislation is aimed
to be enacted by March 2016.
Significant provisions proposed under the Draft Bill
The scope of sensitive data is
extended to include criminal records, security measures, biometric
information and clothing (for example, religious attire).
Treatment of "state
secret" is regulated for the first time in a different
manner, without providing a clear definition of the term, which has
also no reference or place in the respective EU legislation,
The definition of "data
protection officer" is clarified by including relevant
responsibility to determine processing methods and purposes of
Principles are outlined for
transmission of personal data abroad. Similar to the previous draft
bill, transmission of personal data to foreign countries will be
allowed if such country provides a sufficient level of security for
personal data. Transmission of personal data will be allowed even
if a country does not meet the necessary security levels, provided
the data protection officers in such country undertake to provide
in writing to provide a sufficient level of security and the
Authority grants permission.
Exclusions from personal data
protection have been widened. The Draft Bill excludes processing
personal data for the purposes of art, history, literature and
science, or within the scope of free speech. These acts would not
be subject to the Draft Bill's provisions.
The Draft Bill includes structural changes to the Authority,
proposing that out of seven board members, four would be appointed
by the Council of Ministers and three would be directly appointed
by the President of the Republic of Turkey.
Please see this link for full text of the Draft Bill
(only available in Turkish).
Information first published in the
MA | Gazette, a fortnightly legal update newsletter produced by
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