Albanian Prosecutors Probe Huge Suspected Leak of Personal Data


Photo illustration. Photo credits: Caspar Camille Rubin / Unspleash

The Tirana prosecutor’s office told BIRN that it has “started verifications” of a list allegedly containing the personal data of hundreds of thousands of Albanian citizens that has been circulated on social media.

The data is alleged to contain the monthly salaries, jobs, employer names and identification numbers of some 630,000 citizens, both in the public and private sectors.

The list is suspected of having been leaked from the tax service or the Social Security Institute.

Government spokesman Endri Fuga said the Finance Ministry was following with concern the release of data on the salaries of Albanian citizens and described the document as “illegal”.
Fuga said in a statement that a preliminary analysis has shown that “there has been no digital export of the [state] payroll database ”and that the document is a“ merger of several different pieces ”of data.

President Ilir Meta described it as “a flagrant violation of freedoms, human rights and dignity, the laws and the constitution” and urged the authorities to investigate the case and find the perpetrators.

“The personal data of each citizen, which is stored by public institutions and administered in state databases, are personal, are protected by law and are intended to be used only for the benefit of citizens and the state only,” he said. Goal.

“Any other use of it is a criminal act, which endangers the social order by violating the private security of all citizens,” he added.

The deputy leader of the opposition Democratic Party, Enkelejd Alibeaj, said it was “an extraordinary scandal” and alleged that the government of Prime Minister Edi Rama has failed to protect “personal and sensitive data about wages, personal identification numbers and the workplaces of more than 630,000 citizens ”.

Alibeaj said the Democratic Party believes the online posting of the list “is part of a [ruling] party-state strategy to use sensitive information for electoral purposes ”.

If confirmed, this would be the second time in a year that large amounts of private citizen data have entered the public domain.

In April 2021, a few days before the general elections in the country, a database with the private information of around 910,000 voters in Tirana was leaked to the media.

It was claimed that the database belonged to the ruling Socialist Party and was drawn from state institutions and used for electoral purposes.

The database, which BIRN has seen, contained some 910,000 entries, including names, addresses, dates of birth, personal identification cards, employment information and other data.

The Socialist Party denied wrongdoing and insisted that the information was collected in door-to-door surveys.

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