Macao Archives

Proposals on archive declassification under review

The government is reviewing proposals on file declassification in the Archive Bill, which a parliamentary committee is considering.

According to President Vong Hin Fai of the parliamentary committee, the committee is awaiting an updated edition of the draft law from the government. The committee will then study the new draft and, if things go well, it will start compiling the commentary note to facilitate the Bill’s debate and voting at the plenary of the parliament.

The current draft has had the definition of “historic values” and the objective amended. The government has also accepted certain suggestions on related policies and technicalities from the committee. However, more changes are required.

The main concern is that the government has changed proposals about file declassification. The first draft proposed public files under the Macao Archives’ possession could be declassified 25 years from the date of the compilation of the last document of the file.

It also proposed a file with personal data be declassified when either all personal data is covered and unidentifiable, or in 80 years after the date of compilation of the last document in the file.

The latest draft has retained the 25-year timeframe, but the remaining proposals have been changed.

It is now proposed that such files be declassified 25 years after the death of the concerned people, or in 100 years from the compilation date of the last document in the file should the date of death of the concerned people be unknown.

The government said it would consider committee members’ suggestion to retain the “cover and unidentifiable” proposal, while adding that extending the classification period from 80 to 100 years is consistent with international practices. AL

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