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- Model Law On State Secret is an instrument to protect the sovereignty of the CSTO Member States
One of the most important components of the system of national and collective security of the CSTO Member States is the protection of state secrets designed to guarantee the defense capabilities, as well as to preserve the priority of the latest scientific and technological developments in a number of sectors of the economy.
Back in 1992, the member states of the Collective Security Treaty, signed in Tashkent, pledged to protect information that “in accordance with the national legislation of the Parties, constitutes a state secret.”
In 2004, the CSTO signed the Agreement On Ensuring Mutual Protection of Classified Information. In 2010, the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly adopted the Recommendations on the Approximation of the CSTO Member States’ Legislation Concerning State Secret.
In 2012, the Agreement On Ensuring Mutual Protection of Classified Information was amended; the Collective Security Council decided on the Agreement’s implementation measures and measures to ensure information security procedures in the CSTO Secretariat.
New political and economic conditions and international realities required the implementation of new approaches to the issue of state secrets protection. Conceptual and doctrinal documents adopted in the CSTO Member States in the area of ensuring national security determine the priority tasks and main directions of state policy in this area.
The draft model law On State Secret was developed by the St Petersburg Institute of Informatics and Automation of the Russian Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the Institute of National Security of the Republic of Belarus in accordance with the 2016–2020 CSTO PA Action Plan on Approximation and Harmonization of National Legislation of the CSTO Member States.
The Model Law On State Secret was adopted at the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization on October 13, 2017.
Mikhail Vus, a senior researcher at the St Petersburg Institute of Informatics and Automation of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a leading expert of the Federal Service for Technical and Export Control, took an active part in the development of the model law.
Why, and how, to keep state secrets? The model law also answers this question.
According to it, a state secret is “information protected by the state in the area of its military, foreign policy, economic, intelligence, counterintelligence and investigative activities, the unauthorized dissemination of which may cause damage or have serious consequences for the national interests of the state and society, their security and defence capability, as well as create a real threat to security or constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens and their legitimate interests.”
The CSTO Member States continue to search for the best national and collective security model. In the context of globalization and the emergence of the information society, states interested in scientific, technological and industrial development face an unusual socio-legal problem: how to keep their military and technical secrets from potential adversaries and competitors without impeding the exchange of ideas and international scientific and cultural cooperation.
Many political documents of the CSTO Member States note an intensification of activity of foreign intelligence services. The size of the damage from encroachments on state secrets makes the problem of their preservation significant for the state and society. The realities of public life: commercialization of information and informatization of society give experts grounds to speak about the crisis in the sphere of state secrets protection.
State secret is a complex and contradictory socio-legal phenomenon. This issue today is no longer a taboo, yet comprehensive legal research of the concept of state secrecy has not been fully carried out yet. Most of the available publications on the concept of secrecy were published in the Russian Federation. Among them, there are very few monographies; journal articles mostly focus on only separate aspects of the issue regarding high-profile criminal cases.
The Model Law On State Secret consists of seven sections with a detailed consideration of the following:
- General provisions, in particular the scope of the Law and its key terms and definitions.
- State secret: limits and principles of secrecy.
- Making information a state secret and classification of information and its carriers.
- Declassification of information and its carriers.
- Possession, use and disposal of information constituting a state secret.
- Protection of state secrets.
- Financing, control, supervision and liability in the area of state secrets protection.