Party of the Regions accused of using voters’ personal data
Civic activists in the Dnipropetrovsk oblast have accused parliamentary candidates from the Party of the Regions of unlawful use of voters’ personal data. In one of the districts of the oblast representatives of the candidate have circulated campaigning material taking the addresses from the school database. The activists are threatening to go to court, while in the Party of the Regions they reject the accusations, calling them “provocation”.
In Dnipropetrovsk, at electoral district No. 26 OPORA monitors observed teachers distributing material campaigning for the Party of the Regions candidate – the deputy head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Administration Ivan Stupak They report that in order to hand out the leaflets to potential voters, the parents of their students, staff at School No. 99 have used the student address database. Taking the campaigning material around homes, the teachers did not conceal where they had got the addresses from, however also didn’t see anything unlawful in it, Olha Solodushko, OPORA Coordinator for Dnipropetrovsk says.
We consider the use by a political party of data about students kept in the school journals to be an infringement of the Personal Data Protection Act, Article 10.3. Secondly, we are observing around the entire oblast that teachers are working for one political party alone – the Party of the Regions. The heads of many district administrations work with the heads of election headquarters, i.e. have influence on public sector workers. And this is an infringement of the Law on the Elections regarding equal treatment of all candidates and parties by the authorities”, Olha Solodushko says.
The Head of the school in question, Volodymyr Honcharov rejects all accusations. He asserts that the teachers are earning extra money as campaigners for the candidate on their days off and of their own free will, not on the orders of the school administration. He does not exclude the possibility that they used information about the students “for auxiliary work”, but claims he doesn’t know exactly who did this.
Another candidate from the Party of the Regions – the Deputy Mayor of Dnipropetrovsk Ihor Tsyrkin – was early caught using personal data about potential voters. Residents received cards on their birthday on his behalf. Where the candidate got the people’s addresses from and their birthdays is not clear. The observers point out that this information is personal and protected by law.
“If they have a database, we don’t know how this database can be used. And why do other parties and people not have access to it? There is a certain inequality in the electoral process”, Ivan Krasykov, head of the Independent Association of Journalists says.
Representatives of the Party of the Regions deny all such reports.
Observers warn that these instances will form the grounds for law suits.
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