Privacy Commissioner Powerless against Rama’s Black List

On July 12, Prime Minister Edi Rama released on Facebook a list of 100 names of public officials who, according to him, had been gathered by the “common people.” These 100 public officials would have “abused” the “common people.”

Several civil society organizations denounced Prime Minister Rama’s action. The Albanian Helsinki Committee declared that:

The publication on internet pages or in other public form of the data regarding these persons, which may civil servants, simple specialists or functionaries in these institutions, is not only illegal but may also create unnecessary worries.

Following the public outrage about Prime Minister Rama’s “justice of the common people,” Exit asked the Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (KDIMDhP) whether any action had been undertaken against this obvious breach of privacy and public slander.

Director of the Data Protection Department Pjerina Gaxha responded that no action had been undertaken by the Commissioner for two reasons:

  1. None of the 100 public officials on the list had filed an official complaint;
  2. The Law on Data Protection does not cover socials network websites;

In other words, the Prime Minister or his followers are allowed to mail the personal data of any official or anyone else to the public pillory without any legal repercussions. Gaxha pointed out that Prime Minister Rama’s actions falls under Facebook’s privacy policy, rather than the Albanian law.

It is ironic that both the PD and later the PS have in recent years proposed amendments to the Civil Code, both based on an initial draft of former PD deputy Majlinda Bregu, that pose stricter limits on online publications about specific people. Both proposals were met with considerable resistance from the media and civil society.