Greek Finance Ministry fined over tax data theft

Greece’s Finance Ministry has been fined 150,000 euros ($200,000) by the country’s privacy watchdog for allegedly failing to protect the data of millions of taxpayers that ended up in the possession of private companies.

The Data Protection Authority said on Friday that the ministry had not taken sufficient steps to protect its databases from unauthorized access.

That led to a “particularly large” breach of personal data, the authority said in a statement, and gave the ministry two months to improve security.

Last year, police arrested a man on suspicion of having stolen 9 million personal data files from the Finance Ministry, in what is believed to be the country’s biggest breach of private information.

Also, in January, police charged three men after tax data for millions of Greeks were found in an Athens company’s offices.

Meanwhile, following recent revelations about the extent of US government surveillance programs, the European Union is taking steps to improve data protection within its borders.