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Czech Education Minister to fire bureaucrat responsible for Romani data leak

Prague, 12.11.2011 15:22, (ROMEA)

The Czech Interior Ministry has learned which bureaucrat published a list of Romani pupils including sensitive data about them to the ministry website. Czech Education Minister Josef Dobeš (Public Affairs - VV) told the press on Wednesday 9 November that he is firing the bureaucrat concerned but did not want to reveal the person's name. He also would not confirm whether the bureaucrat involved is Marta Teplá, who recently publicly criticized the minister's handling of Romani issues. Dobeš filed criminal charges against an unidentified perpetrator at the time of the incident.

"The person concerned is on medical leave after allegedly collapsing and I will address the situation once the person has recovered," Dobeš said, adding that the person would be fired. "This is an enormous faux pas that must never be repeated. I am just toying with the notion of whether this was intentional or an example of colossal stupidity."

When asked by the Czech Radio station Radiožurnál whether the bureaucrat concerned was Marta Teplá, the minister said he would not comment. Teplá recently took a stand against the ministry providing financial support for preschool children and their parents from socially excluded localities, as well as against the gradual dissolution of the "practical" or "special" schools. She then ended her work at the ministry.

The list was leaked on the ministry's website last Monday and was removed after Czech Television reported it. The list included the names and exact addresses of a total of 895 Romani pupils whom the ministry is financially supporting during their high school studies. "The Office for Personal Data Protection (Úřad na ochranu osobních údajů - ÚOOÚ) is initiating an administrative proceedings in this matter on the suspicion that the law on the protection of personal data has been violated," David Pavlát of the ÚOOÚ told the Czech Press Agency.

The ministry's financial support is designed for socially excluded children. High schools and technical colleges use the money to cover the costs of housing them in dormitories and providing them lunches in school cafeterias or school supplies and work clothing for practical training.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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