Angelito Scibberas, erstwhile head of the Nationalist Party’s Electoral Commission, has warned of a serious data breach after the contact numbers of PN paid-up members (tesserati) were leaked to MaltaToday and used to conduct a survey.
Today, MaltaToday published a survey among tesserati which gauged the popularity of PN leader Adrian Delia and leader candidate Bernard Grech ahead of this summer’s leadership election.
It found that Grech vastly outperformed Delia in every cohort of PN voter, no matter their residence, age, gender or level of education.
Yet the survey was made possible after the newspaper was “leaked an anonymised PN membership list that had contact numbers and the locality of residence”.
And while such surveys, if based on a full and updated list of tesserati, are crucial in assessing who is likely to triumph this summer, Scibberas, a data protection expert, warned its leak falls foul of data protection law.
“Anonymisation – the process of either encrypting or removing personally identifiable information from data sets so that the people whom the data describes remain permanently anonymous,” he wrote.
“Contact numbers identify the data subjects. It even associates that the same data subjects are politically affiliated. The ‘leaked’ list does not qualify as anonymised.”
He warned MaltaToday is sitting on a breach of Special Category data and said the person who leaked it should be ashamed of themselves.