Main legal texts impacting on the development of eGovernment
Last updated: December 2011
There is currently no overall eGovernment legislation in Latvia. However, the 'Law on State Information Systems' provides a legal framework for the operation of State Information Systems and the cooperation of concerned organisational units.
Adopted in May 2002 and with amendments up to 1 January 2011, this Law is aimed at ensuring the availability and quality of information services provided by state and local government institutions in State Information Systems. The Law determines unified procedures by which State Information Systems are created, registered, maintained, used, reorganised or liquidated; regulates cooperation of the State Information System managers; determines the functions of the keeper of the State Information System, and the rights and duties of the State Information System data subject; regulates the security management of State Information Systems; and specifies the requirements to be observed for the protection of critical State Information Systems and State Information System management integrators.
The Freedom of Information Law was enacted in November 1998. It guarantees public access to all information held by state administrative and local government institutions in any technically feasible form. Information can only be restricted if: there is a law providing it; if the information is for the internal use of an institution; if it is a trade secret not relating to public procurement, or information about the private life of an individual; and, if it concerns certification, examination, a project, tender and similar evaluation procedures. Public bodies have to respond to requests for information within 10 days if the information is requested in electronic form only and if it does not require supplementary processing; within 15 days if the information does not require supplementary processing; or within 30 days if the information requires supplementary processing; and if the requestor is informed about it within 15 days. The requestors have the right to appeal. The amendments (last of which took place in 2009) further clarified and strengthened the right of access by fixing the duration of the restriction to one year and the right to request information electronically apart from the written or spoken manner. Furthermore, the law also states that public authorities shall create information registers to be made available online at the relevant body website.
The Law on Personal Data Protection was adopted by Parliament on 23 March 2000 and was lastly amended in 2009. It is based on standard fair information practices and is fully compliant with the EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC). The aim of this Law is to protect the fundamental human rights and freedoms of natural persons, in particular the inviolability of private life with respect to the processing of personal data. Application of the Law is overseen by the State Data Inspectorate, which is also responsible for spam supervision.
The Information Technologies Security Law came into force on 1 February 2011. It aims to improve information technologies security by defining the key requirements for organisations to guarantee the security of essential electronic services. The law provides for the identification and protection of critical infrastructure; the establishment and organisation of an IT Security Incident Response Institution (national CERT); the determination of conduct in information technology security incidents; the setup of minimum security requirements for state and municipal institutions; and the implementation of Directive 2009/140/EC by electronic communications service providers.
The Electronic Documents Law came into force on 1 January 2003 and was lastly amended on 24 September 2009. The Law transposes the EU Directive on a Community framework for electronic signatures (1999/93/EC), and defines the legal status of electronic documents and digital signatures. According to the Law, electronic documents have to be accepted by every public institution (state and municipal). In addition, citizens and businesses can request an electronic reply from the Public Administration.
The Personal Identification Documents Law was adopted in May 2002. It states that identification documents shall contain a machine readable zone. Moreover, in 2004, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted the Regulation ‘On the citizen’s identity cards, non-citizens identity cards, citizen’s passports, non-citizens passports and stateless person’s travel documents’, which provided for the inclusion of electronic chips in future identity cards.
A new Personal Identification Documents Law was submitted to the Parliament in June 2011. The law defines the eID card types (citizen, non-citizen, EU-citizen, third-country citizen residence permit and accredited persons eID). The eID card would contain biometric data and information in electronic form which enables electronic verification of the holder's identity and creation of a secure electronic signature. As such, the eID card can serve as an identity and travel document within the EU, a personal identification tool for eServices, and in order to provide a secure electronic signature. It is planned that the law comes into force in January 2012. Wherewith, first eID cards are to be issued in March 2012.
The Law on Information Society Services, which transposes the EU Directive on certain legal aspects of information society services (2000/31/EC), with particular emphasis on electronic commerce, was passed by Parliament on 4 November 2004 with amendments until June 2011. This Law governs the procedure for the provision of electronic services, the conditions to be observed by eService providers and their responsibility, and the requirements for the protection of consumer rights.
The Electronic Communications Law entered into force on 1 December 2004, with amendments up to 19 May 2011. It aims to promote and regulate the provision of electronic communications services, transposing the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications. The law provides for forms of various electronic networks, including public and private electronic networks. In addition, it provides for the duties and rights of providers, subscribers and users of electronic networks.
The Law on Public Procurement of 1 May 2006, with amendments until 20 May 2010, fully complies with the EU Directive on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts (2004/18/EC). The Law regulates the overall use of electronic communication means in public procurement for the Government sector. Another new procurement mechanism introduced concerns electronic reverse auctions. Contracting authorities are permitted to decide whether the award of a public contract will be preceded by an eAuction once an initial full evaluation of the tenders has taken place. Full introduction of eProcurement will offer the possibility of managing all steps of the procurement procedure using IT. Regulations issued by the Cabinet of Ministers on 28 December 2010 set the obligation for public institutions to provide procurement via the eProcurement system 'eis.gov.lv'.
The Law on Procurement for the Needs of Public Services Providers of August 2010 implements Directive 2004/17/EC, thus regulating the use of electronic communication means in the public procurement process for the utility sector.
The Freedom of Information Law was lastly amended on 12 June 2009, transposing the Directive on the re-use of Public Sector Information (2003/98/EC) into national law. According to the amendment, an application for the re-use of existing information at the disposal of an institution shall be drawn up in writing in accordance with documentation requirements specified for the relevant information group. In addition, the application shall indicate that the information is requested for the purpose of re-use and the goods or services for which the requested information is necessary. The Law also states that the information re-use conditions shall not be imposed.