Data protection and GDPR in practice – the Initiative on a study visit to organizations in Croatia

Thanks to the support of the Central European Initiative – CEI, the Initiative for monitoring the EU integrations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, visited Zagreb as part of a study visit to institutions and organizations in the Republic of Croatia that deal with data protection issues and the application of GDPR.

Sarajevo Open Center, Center for Investigative Journalism (CIN), Center for Youth KVART, CURE Foundation, and TRIAL International in Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity on the first day to talk with technology expert Marija Bošković-Batarelo about the challenges of implementing GDPR in the entrepreneurship sector as well as in smaller organizations.

Following this, the representatives of the Initiative met with the staff of the Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNET, where projects implemented through cooperation with the education sector, as well as international organizations and government bodies/agencies in European Union countries, were presented.

These meetings were an opportunity to learn about good practices applied in the Republic of Croatia and gain insight into what awaits not only decision-makers but also the civil sector on the path to implementing GDPR in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is one of the many significant issues that await our country in the process of European integration and reforms on this path.

In the second part of the visit, a meeting was held with the staff of the Office of the Ombudsman, where the connection between the process of digital transformation and the protection of human rights was discussed. Particular emphasis was placed on the problems accompanying this process (such as the exclusion of vulnerable categories of society) and the role of the Ombudsman institution in the Republic of Croatia. Artificial intelligence was also a topic of discussion, where the members of the Initiative received information about the European Union Regulation on Artificial Intelligence.

At the end of the meeting, the Office of the Ombudsman informed the Initiative about the digitalization of court proceedings in the Republic of Croatia and highlighted the need for continuous efforts for fair digitalization that takes into account the needs of all categories of society, especially vulnerable groups.

The knowledge gained from this meeting is significant for the next step in the CEI TO DATA ROL project, which is the analysis of data protection legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the preparation of proposals that will be aligned with the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union.