After data obtained about violators of traffic cameras in the Republic of Cyprus had to be deleted due to legal questions, the pilot phase of the operation was set to resume Monday but last only ten days as fines begin lawfully January 1, unless more issues emerge.
Local media said government officials, in cooperation with the office of the commissioner for personal data protection, managed last week to resolve a number of legal issues, which were said to have prevented violators from legally getting notified about traffic violations between late October and late December.
In late October, law enforcement authorities re-launched a number of mobile and fixed cameras to monitor traffic, promising the public that fines would not start being issued until January 1 next year, essentially giving a two-month grace period for violators to get used to the system and receive proper warnings in the mail.
In just a few hours of operation, hundreds of violators were caught by the system on day one.
'From a procedural point of view, we believe the system is functional and now the processing of private data can go forward. In case there is a problem, we can ask for an extension'
But earlier this month, following criticism that the House rushed a bill after an agreement had already been signed, it emerged that there were still legal questions over the contract between police and the contracting private company in processing data and sending notifications to violators.
Irene Loizidou-Nikolaidou, the country’s Commissioner for personal data protection, reportedly pointed several issues of concern such as the need for a clearer distinction between the roles of law enforcement and company employees, including their subcontractors, in managing data and identifying violators.
Traffic police deputy chief Charis Evripidou was not immediately available for comment on Monday morning but he previously said the operation had been stalled due to procedural issues of a sensitive nature that were expected to be resolved “in a matter of days."
Reports said officials called for all personal data on violations prior to the revision of the agreement to be wiped out of the system, meaning violators during the two-month warning period could not be notified in accordance with the law.
Start date Jan 1 but extension not ruled out
Evripidou said no grace period would be added due to a political decision to start the program on January 1, adding that “from a procedural point of view, we believe the system is functional and now the processing of private data can go forward.”
“In case there is a problem, we can ask for an extension but under normal circumstances the program is set to begin January 1,” Evripidou said.
Violators will receive a notice in the mail with information on how to access their citation online, where they can also view images of the alleged violation.
Operation starts anew Monday after company forced to delete all data on violators, grace period after Dec 30 unlikely but not ruled out