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Politics

SYRIZA, PASOK Want Minister Out Over Greek MEP’s Email Data Breach

ATHENS – Rivals to Greece’s ruling New Democracy have demanded that Interior Minister Niki Kerameus resign in the wake of fines being assessed for violating the privacy of Diaspora voters in upcoming June 6-9 European Parliament elections.

A New Democracy EU lawmaker, Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, was penalized 40,000 euros ($43,431) for unlawfully sending emails to Diaspora voters after she said she got their addresses from the then Secretary for Diaspora Affairs Nikos Theodoropoulos, who was fired for it. She is not running again.

The country’s Data Protection Authority (DPA) fined the ministry 400,000 euros ($434,313) in taxpayer money, PASOK and SYRIZA saying that should lead to Kerameus, a lawyer, being ousted, said POLITICO.

https://www.politico.eu/article/fine-imposed-greek-interior-ministry-voters-data-breach-eu-elections/

“It is unacceptable for the Interior Ministry to be turned into New Democracy election center, and for personal data of thousands of Greeks expats to be handed over to the ruling party and its candidates – exposing the country and shaking the trust of citizens,” PASOK said in a statement.

A SYRIZA statement added, “Private data were being passed around for months among the Interior Ministry, ND, and at least one election candidate,” questioning whether the email list had been leaked to other New Democracy candidates by the Interior Ministry.

The Leftists said that “Kerameus did not have the guts to show up at the Committee on Institutions and Transparency,” in Parliament to explain herself or how the ministry was involved since the DPA found the ministry was culpable.

Asimakopoulou emailed Greeks living abroad on March 1 to promote her reelection bid, the same day as a separate message from the Interior Ministry informing expats that they could vote in the upcoming elections.

Dozens of recipients of Asimakopoulou’s email said they had never had prior communication with her and didn’t consent to receiving her emails, also a violation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.)

The DPA said a file containing data on all voters registered for the June 2023 election was obtained by Asimakopoulou who then used it to send mass campaign emails before pulling out over the scandal.

The agency is still looking into how the government handled the case, which could lead to more fines and a state prosecutor is also conducting an investigation while a number of voters have sued Asimakopoulou and the ministry, the report added.

Earlier, the ministry’s General-Secretary, Michalis Stavrianoudakis, was dismissed after an internal investigation by the office of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who said he wouldn’t abide what happened.

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