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Operators in Latvia in emergencies must send messages by foreign ministry

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Staff writer ▼ | June 15, 2016
Riga Latvia
Disaster threats   In view of the growing terrorist threat

Draft amendments to the Electronic Communications Law by Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs came into force prescribing that mobile network operators must send out text messages by the Foreign Ministry, on how to act in crisis situations.

Mobile operators are granting the rights to process location data without consent of a user or subscriber.

The amendments have been introduced in view of the growing terrorist threat in the world and the events of recent months, there also being an increased probability of encountering a disaster threat that involves danger to an individual’s life or health in European countries where large numbers of Latvian nationals are staying on a regular basis.

In emergency, it can be vital to rapidly track down and notify large numbers of Latvian nationals on how to receive assistance.

The Foreign Ministry has concluded that for this purpose it would be necessary to send out text messages to all the phone numbers of Latvian mobile operators roaming in a specific foreign country at a given moment.

It is noteworthy that the said amendments only provide for the mobile operators’ rights to process the location data.

No information on personal data, location data, the number of Latvian nationals in a crisis affected region or country, or the number of text messages sent out will be disclosed to the Foreign Ministry.

For the Foreign Ministry, sending of text messages is an instrument to be used only in exceptional cases under emergency conditions.

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