Watchdog fines ministry for personal data violation

The Hellenic Data Protection Authority (HDPA) has fined the Finance Ministry’s General Secretariat for Information Systems 150,000 euros after deeming that the service failed to protect the personal data of millions of taxpayers.

According to the HDPA, the secretariat did not take adequate action to protect its databases, leading to a “an extremely serious” violation of personal data. An inspection launched by the privacy watchdog in the fall of last year revealed that numerous private companies were in possession of personal data that appears to have been obtained from the ministry’s secretariat. The HDPA called on the secretariat to take action to avert other privacy breaches.

Last year, police in Athens arrested a 35-year-old man on privacy violation charges after officers of the police’s electronic crimes unit found that he had personal data relating to some 9 million Greeks on three computer hard drives in his home.