Svetoslav Apostolov's blog

The EPSO’s Personal Data Protection Policy Deceit

In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

George Orwell

Last week I read a statement issued by the Commission of the European Communities (alias the European Commission, EC) in response to claims made by a group of framers called “Farmers for No” on the impact of the Lisbon Treaty, in which the EC complained that:

The statements of the Irish farm lobby group (Farmers for No) on the Lisbon Treaty and on EU policies, quoted in today’s press, are factually incorrect and misleading. They represent a totally distorted picture of the reality.

(European Commission 2009)

Considering the fact that the European Commission as a collective is a big liar, its complaints about the “factually incorrect and misleading” statements of the farmers which “represent a totally distorted picture of the reality” really made me laugh out loud.

I already exposed the Commission as attempting to deceive the European citizens by deliberately publishing a factually incorrect map of the current status of the Treaty of Lisbon which, in the European Commission’s own words, represents a totally distorted picture of the reality (Apostolov 2009a).

This entry will present another typical case of the European Commission’s deceits on the example of the Personal Data Protection Policy of the European Personnel Selection Office (hereafter “EPSO”), which is just one of the numerous permanent and temporary “offices attached to the Commission”, “decentralised bodies” and “agencies” numbering as many as the sand grains on a beach (for details see The Rising Pyramid (Apostolov 2009b)).

To cut the long story short, in the beginning of April 2009 I discovered that my data has been retained online by the EPSO in violation of its own Personal Data Protection Policy published as of that time (the respective terms of personal data storage are highlighted in Figure 1 below).

Figure 1. EPSO’s Personal Data Protection Policy as of 03.04.2009
(Source: EPSO 2009a).

Having contacted the Office on the subject of solving the problem, I received several replies that were totally irrelevant to the reported problem of Personal Data Protection Policy violation. Finally, having written back and forth with the EPSO, I received a response reading that (the punctuation and formatting of the text are original):

… EPSO is fully in line with the opinion of 23rd November 2005 of the European Data Protection Supervisor concerning the selection by competition of officials for the European Institutions and where applicable, other entities, bodies or community Agencies. In this opinion it is stipulated that “with the exception of those candidates registered in parallel for other competitions – in which case data is kept for 12 months after the closure of the candidate’s last competition – online candidate data is kept for 12 months after the closure of the competition concerned”.

(Bearfield 2009)

In other words, the EPSO had been fully aware of the requirements to online personal data storage set by the respective Community legislation at least since late 2005; nevertheless, it had done nothing to align its published Personal Data Protection Policy with these requirements, thus misleading the respective candidates to believe that their personal data submitted in relation to a particular competition will be kept online for 12 months after the end of that competition. Moreover, the Office did not update its published policy despite my requests.

It was only after the requested by me intervention of the European Data Protection Supervisor in that issue and his letter to the EPSO, in which he wrote:

To ensure that candidates are accurately informed of the retention period the EDPS invites EPSO to mention it in the online privacy statement on personal data protection within the framework of an open competition.

(Buttarelli 2009)

that the EPSO finally corrected its published Personal Data Protection Policy to properly represent the terms of online data storage as shown in Figure 2:

Figure 2. EPSO’s Personal Data Protection Policy as of 29.08.2009
(Source: EPSO 2009b).

Being such a role model for the Europeans, the European Commission should not really wonder or complain when the people pay it back in the same coin.

REFERENCES:

Apostolov, S. 2009a. The European Commission’s Deceits – Part 1: The Treaty of Lisbon Deceit. [online]
URL: http://spapostolov.blogactiv.eu/2009/08/19/the-european-commissions-deceits-part-1/ (site last accessed on 29.08.2009).

Apostolov, S. 2009b. The Rising Pyramid. [online]
URL: http://spapostolov.blogactiv.eu/2009/07/08/the-rising-pyramid/ (site last accessed on 29.08.2009).

Bearfield, N. 2009. D(2009) PC 1919 Reply to “Your letter D(2009) PC 1748 of 15.05.2009”.
Available online: http://spapostolov.blogactiv.eu/files/2009/08/bearfield.pdf (site last accessed on 29.08.2009).

Buttarelli, G. 2009. GB/SyL/ktl D(2009)845 C 2009-0236 Letter to the Director of the EPSO.
Available online: http://spapostolov.blogactiv.eu/files/2009/08/buttarelli.pdf (site last accessed on 29.08.2009).

EPSO. 2009a. Personal Data Protection Policy as of 03.04.2009.

EPSO. 2009b. Personal Data Protection Policy as of 29.08.2009. [online]
URL: https://europa.eu/epso/application/passport/ (site last accessed on 29.08.2009).

European Commission. 2009. Response to reported claims “Farmers for No” on the impact of the Lisbon Treaty. [online]
URL: http://ec.europa.eu/ireland/press_office/news_of_the_day/lisbon-treaty-clarification_en.htm (site last accessed on 29.08.2009).

Note: Personal data have been removed from the letters out of personal privacy considerations.

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