Privacy Watchdog Investigates PM's Vaccination Promotion Letters

By , 20 Dec 2021, 14:56 PM Politics
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STA, 20 December 2021 - The Information Commissioner has launched an investigation against the prime minister's office in regard to the vaccination promotion letters citizens received from Prime Minister Janez Janša. The office will have to explain the way personal data was obtained in order to address the letters and the legal basis used for this.

The inquiry is based on the cornerstones of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation under which any processing of personal data must be lawful, fair and transparent, said Information Commissioner Mojca Prelesnik on Monday.

The procedure, launched on Friday, comes after the data protection watchdog received numerous reports by citizens inquiring about the legal framework used by the prime minister's office to access their personal data to send the letters, which were addressed to specific individuals.

The large number of reports reflects a high level of awareness of the importance of personal data protection among individuals, said Prelesnik.

Citizens have recently received letters in which Janša thanked those who have been vaccinated for getting jabbed as well as urged the unvaccinated ones to reconsider this.

"Let this be your free but responsible choice," he wrote ahead of the nationwide campaign Vaccination Days that is currently underway and aims to boost vaccination rates amid Omicron concerns.

Responding to the inquiry, the prime minister's office told the STA the letters had been sent to all adults in Slovenia without any kind of selection or access to any records. To well-meaning people, Janša's reasons for such a gesture are clear in the letter itself, it added.

The office said that "there is no doubt about what the coming weeks will hold for us if we continue to be the sixth least vaccinated country in the European Union".

It attached forecasts for the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus in Europe which show that the strain could become dominant in January, with rising numbers of the infected followed by higher hospital admission rates.

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