The law amendment, proposed as part of a bill aimed at transposing the new European Electronic Communications Code, EEC, into national legislation, will likely increase the restrictive powers of the Romanian intelligence service.
“Proposing such legislative solutions for intercepting communications through the back door, avoiding any public debate, is not only deeply undemocratic but offensive,” warned Bogdan Manolea, director of the Association for Technology and Internet, APTI.
On December 22, meanwhile, the Facebook page of Romania’s Radio Iași shared an article entitled “pandemic of lies”. The article, originally published on an unknown website, was shared with a caption written by Nicolae Tomescu Stachie, editor-in-chief of Radio Iași. This was the first time that fake news about the pandemic was shared by a state-owned media outlet in Romania.
Another case, recorded on December 15, concerned the dismantling by the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Corruption of a hacker group targeting casinos in Mures County in Transylvania. The hackers, who illegally made a profit of around € 35,000 over 18 months, had accessed the computer systems of various casinos and altered the data to obtain unfair bonuses.
On December 13, a further online incident involved Cristi Dănileț, a judge, who was removed from his post following the publication of two videos on TikTok. In one of the videos, Danilet, also a martial arts practitioner, was seen performing a martial arts exercise, while in the second he is seen cutting a garden hedge.
Dănileț, who is an activist and a vocal critic of rising political interference in the Romanian justice system, announced that he had appealed the decision both at home and internationally, also seeking the intervention of the European Court of Human Rights.
“Deeply concerned by Judge Danilet’s expulsion from the Romanian magistracy. An independent judiciary is essential for any democracy”, tweeted the US embassy in Bucharest.
Calls for war flood Bosnia’s digital environment.
More than 25 years after the signing of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, which marked the end of the 1992-5 Bosnian war, Bosnia is still far from achieving both social and political stability.
Political antagonism and strong institutional ethnic divisions continue to haunt its digital environment as well. Two opposite scenarios, the definitive rupture of internal balances or a peaceful resolution, could characterize the coming year.
As Bosnia faces what some call its greatest existential threat of the post-war period, social networks and Facebook pay the roles of “echo chambers”, where calls for violence are frequent and rapidly go viral.