Cyprus Mail

Low number of personal data breaches by parties this election

The personal data commissioner on Friday said that her office has received a very small number of complaints from members of the public regarding personal data breaches from parliamentary candidates or parties.

Irene Loizidou Nicolaidou told the Cyprus News Agency that during the pre-election period, her office has only received 20 complaints from members of the public, of which 16 have been investigated.

Two of the 16 complaints under investigation were later withdrawn by the complainants, with warnings issued for the rest. Loizidou explained that since these were not repeated offences they did not call for harsher punishment.

To file a complaint, members of the public must fill in the relevant form found on the personal data office’s website, which will then launch an investigation to determine whether the complaint referred to a personal data breach or not.

“Complaints which are vague, unfounded or excessive, particularly due to their recurring nature, or if they are anonymous or do not contain the necessary details, may not be examined,” the website reads.

Considering there are over 600 parliamentary candidates, the 20 complaints are significantly low, meaning that personal data breaches were kept to a minimum during the pre-election period, Loizidou said.

She attributed this to her office’s proactivity, as instructions on how to avoid breaching personal data were sent to political parties in January, and then reiterated about a month ago.

On election day, this Sunday, the personal data protection office will perform spot-checks to ensure political parties and candidates do not breach the public’s personal data, she added.

Finally, Loizidou urged the public to report anything they find suspicious.

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