Data protection and cybersecurity laws in Serbia

Data protection

1. Local data protection laws and scope

Law on Personal Data Protection ("RS Official Gazette", No. 87/2018) (the “PDP Law”)

2. Data protection authority

Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection (the “Commissioner”)
http://www.poverenik.rs/index.php

3. Anticipated changes to local laws

There are no anticipated changes.

4. Sanctions & non-compliance

Monetary fines:

The PDP Law introduces penalties for legal entities and responsible persons in legal entities in case of acting contrary to the provisions of the PDP Law.

It imposes monetary fines for the violations of the legal entity in the range between RSD 50,000 and RSD 2m (EUR 450 to 16,000) and for the responsible person in legal entity in the range between RSD 5,000 and RSD 150,000 (EUR 40 to EUR 1,200).

The legal entity may also have to pay a fine of up to 10% of an undertaking’s income realised in Serbia in the previous year, in case of not applying or infringing the data protection authority’s order of limitation on processing or suspension of data flows.

Criminal liability:

The Serbian Criminal Act prescribes the unauthorised collection of the personal data as a felony. Therefore, it cannot be excluded that natural person who acts contrary to the provisions of the PDP Law, would be subject to potential criminal liability.

Others: 
  • Reputational risk;
  • Reimbursement of potential damages (material and non-material)

5. Registration / notification / authorisation

N/A

6. Main obligations and processing requirements

  • Maintaining records of processing activities;
  • Implementing appropriate technical, organisational and human resources measures;
  • Cooperating with the Commissioner;
  • Information requirement;
  • Appropriate legal grounds for processing;
  • Complying with restrictions on transfers of personal data;
  • Appointing a Data Protection Officer, where applicable;
  • Notifying personal data breaches to Data Subject and Commissioner, in accordance with PDP Law;
  • Conducting Data Protection Impact Assessment, where applicable;
  • To enable the Data Subject’s rights in accordance with PDP Law

7. Data subject rights

Data subject has the following rights: 

  • to be informed; 
  • to access; 
  • to rectification and supplement;
  • to erasure of personal data;
  • to restriction of processing;
  • to personal data portability; and
  • to object

8. Processing by third parties

Where the processor engages another sub-processor the same data protection obligations as set out in the PDP Law or Data Protection Agreement signed between the controller and the processor is imposed on that sub-processor by way of an agreement or other legal act signed between processor and sub-processor in particular providing sufficient guarantees to implement appropriate technical, organisational and human resources measures in such a manner that the processing will meet the requirements of the PDP Law. In the situation where the sub-processor fails to fulfil its personal data protection obligations, the initial processor shall remain fully liable to the controller for the performance of that sub-processor’s obligations.

9. Transfers out of country

Data transfer to the countries not specified in the PDP Law or in the “white list”, is allowed only if the controller/processor has ensured appropriate safeguards, prescribed by the PDP Law, and on condition that enforceable data subject rights and effective legal remedies for data subjects are available. 

The following are considered to be appropriate safeguards under the PDP Law: 

  • A legally binding and enforceable instrument between public authorities or bodies;
  • Standard Data Protection clauses adopted by the Commissioner that regulate the legal relationship of the Controller and the Processor;
  • Binding corporate rules approved by the Commissioner; 
  • An approved code of conduct with binding and enforceable commitments of the controller/processor in the third country to apply the appropriate safeguards, or an approved certification mechanism.

10. Data Protection Officer

The controllers and processors are required to designate a data protection officer (“DPO“), if: (a) the processing is carried out by a public authority, (b) the core activities of the controller/processor require the regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale, or the large scale processing of special categories of personal data – e.g. health data or trade union memberships, or criminal convictions/offences data.

11. Security

Data controllers and data processors shall take all necessary technical, human resources and organisational measures to protect data in accordance with the established standards and procedures in order to protect data from loss, damage, inadmissible access, modification, publication and any other abuse, as well as to provide for an obligation of keeping data confidentiality for all persons who work on data processing.

12. Breach notification

If data breach may create a risk to rights and freedoms of natural persons, the controller must notify the Commissioner without undue delay and, not later than 72 hours after becoming aware of the breach.

If data breach may create a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural person, the controller is obliged to notify the affected data subject without undue delay.

13. Direct marketing

A prior information consent of a data subject (a natural person) is required in case of direct marketing (via mail, email, phone, etc.). The data subject must be able to withdraw consent at any time. If the data subject no longer wants to receive advertising messages, the advertiser must stop direct marketing. 

These rules do not apply to natural persons who perform business activity in relation to such business activity.

14. Cookies and adtech

Not regulated, so general personal data protection rules apply.

15. Risk scale

Moderate

Commissioner for Personal Data Protection website: https://www.poverenik.rs/en/

Cybersecurity

1. Local cybersecurity laws and scope

The Law on Information Security (“Official Gazette of RS", Nos. 6/2016, 94/2017 and 77/2019”) (“Law”)

2. Anticipated changes to local laws

There are no anticipated changes.

3. Application 

The Law specifies measures for the protection from security risks in information and communications systems, the liability of legal entities during management and use of information and communications systems and designates competent authorities responsible for the execution of protection measures, coordination between protection factors and monitoring of the proper application of the prescribed protection measures, software and software development tools.

5. Key obligations 

  • Adopting an internal by-law on security of information and communication system and implementing security measures
  • Need to appoint a person or organisational unit for security supervision of information and communication system
  • Need to provide a report on internal control of information and communication system
  • Mandatory reporting of incidents related to information and communication system

6. Sanctions & non-compliance 

Monetary fines:

Fine of up to RSD 2m (EUR 16,800) for a legal entity and up to RSD 50,000 (approx. EUR 400) for a responsible person within the legal entity.

Criminal sanctions:

N/A

Others: 
  • Reputational risk
  • Reimbursement of the potential damages (material and non-material)

7. Is there a national computer emergency response team (CERT) or computer security incident response team (CSIRT)? 

Yes. Tasks of the national CERT are assigned to the Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (RATEL).

8. National cybersecurity incident management structure

The Serbian Government established a body to coordinate work on information security and adopted a Decree on the procedure for Notifying on Incidents relating to Information and Communication System of Particular Importance.

9. Other cybersecurity initiatives 

N/A.

Portrait of Jelena Đorđević
Jelena Đorđević
Attorney-at-Law
Belgrade
Portrait of Ksenija Ivetić Marlović
Ksenija Ivetić Marlović
Attorney-at-Law
Belgrade
Mina Radonjic
Associate
Belgrade