Wednesday, 21 March 2007 13:51
Chances for privacy violation through misuse of personal data are limited only by abuser’s imagination. For example, if somebody knows your ID number can enter the election list on the internet and alter your personal data
“Six Coca Cola caps and ID card for teddy bear” was the marketing campaign of Skopje Brewery for the New Year’s holidays. People were going to McDonald's, (they were giving teddy bears), gave their IDs and the employees were recording the name, address and ID number of hundreds of awarded people every day. Children whose parents did not have IDs, were going home without a toy and greatly disappointed. Asked about the formalities, about taking addresses and ID numbers, the employees in McDonnald’s have no answer.
“We are just doing a favour to the Brewery, and they are always requesting these information with their prize games,” said one of the employees.
Did they know that what they or Skopje Brewery were doing was against the law and that they have no right to ask such information for such purpose? Most of the people did not know that they have right to protect their personal data and that right is violated.
“Usually companies collect data without a reason. But, there are cases in which through collecting personal data they research the market and then archived the data for other purposes,” said Marijana Marushikj, director of Directorate for personal data protection.
According to Marushikj, greatest misuse of personal data is done by direct marketing. That is all those PR materials you are receiving on your postal address, by a company you have never heard about, and you have never gave your address or request PR materials.
“Companies and agencies have personal data databases that are selling to each other, so there is no wonder if a company gets your name, address or ID number that you have gave to somebody else, for something else,” said Marushikj.
Chances for privacy violation through misuse of personal data are limited only by abuser’s imagination. For example, if somebody knows your ID number can enter the election list on the internet and alter your personal data.
Identity theft, i.e. using somebody else’s identity when committing a crime, is the most dangerous misuse of personal data, which according to the Directorate, is not yet very common in Macedonia.
In the time period of 1,5 years from its establishing, the Directorate for personal data protection has lodged 6 reports for violation, and monitors 7 institutions. There are lot of phone calls for privacy violation, but only few citizens files denunciation.