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Czech Education Ministry fined for Romani data leak

Prague, 11.7.2012 16:36, (ROMEA)
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The Czech Education Ministry has been fined CZK 450 000 by the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection (Úřad pro ochranu osobních údajů - ÚOOÚ) for last year's publication of a list of Romani scholarship recipients that included their personal information. The decision has taken effect. Hana Štěpánková, spokesperson for the ÚOOÚ, announced the decision to the Czech Press Agency today.

The data of almost 900 Romani schoolchildren, including their addresses and the amounts of financial support they receive, turned up last November on the ministry's website. The Czech Press Agency is in the process of getting a statement from the ministry. According to the Shadow Education Minister for the Czech Social Democrats (ČSSD) Marcel Chládek, it was former Czech Education Minister Josef Dobeš (Public Affairs - VV) who "failed as a manager" and should personally pay the fine.

"The Office for Personal Data Protection has issued this fine in connection with the publication of a list of the Romani pupils included in the Education Ministry's subsidy program. The fine corresponds to the extent of the list that was published," Štěpánková said. The decision took effect on 27 June.

Last year, after the case was publicized, Dobeš announced he would be firing the bureaucrat who had posted the Romani pupils' sensitive data online. He also filed criminal charges against an unidentified perpetrator over the data leak.

The ministry removed the data from its website after being warned of it last November. The list included names, birth dates, and addresses of 895 Romani pupils whom the ministry had financially supported in their high school studies. It also listed the 181 schools which received the subsidy, which totaled CZK 4.4 million.

The ministry awards the scholarships in order to support to young people from poor families who study at academic and technical high schools. The schools use the monies to pay for the children's accommodation fees at boarding schools, for lunches in the school cafeteria, and for school supplies and work clothing for practical instruction.

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