bne IntelliNews – Albania investigates leak of personal data of 637,138 citizens
The personal and salary details of 637,138 Albanian citizens, more than a fifth of the country’s population, were leaked online at the end of December.
The leak follows another massive leak of personal data ahead of the April 25, 2021 general election to the ruling Socialist Party, raising serious concerns about the security of Albanians’ personal data.
The government confirmed the latest leak in a December 22 statement and Prime Minister Edi Rama issued an apology.
The leak included names, ID numbers, salaries and employment details. It was shared in an Excel document on WhatsApp.
Local media reported that it was apparently a compilation of data from various sources, which was confirmed by government officials.
Government spokesman Endri Fuga said in a Dec. 22 statement that the data did not appear to have been exported from the payroll database.
“The Ministry of Finance and Economy has followed with concern the alleged leak of monthly salaries of Albanian citizens. The preliminary investigation clearly shows that no digital export of the payroll database took place from January to April 2021 on the leaked document. The document … is a combination of several different pieces,” Fuga said in a statement.
The next day, Rama issued an apology for the leak. “I would like to apologize to anyone who is rightly concerned about this invasion of their privacy and in the meantime I would like to stress that this event deserves a thorough investigation,” the Prime Minister said on December 23.
He added that “the preliminary investigation shows that this is much more an internal intervention than an external intervention in the form of a cyber attack”.
The leak is currently being investigated by prosecutors in Tirana, who are expected to probe the Tax Directorate and the Social Insurance Institute to determine the origin of the leak.
The data is now widely disseminated online, raising fears that it could be used by scammers and other criminals to target Albanian citizens.