Comment: Don’t Fall for the Spin – Exit
Following the leak of a Socialist Party database containing the data of more than 910,000 people, the Albanians learned that they had each received a “boss”.
The data that was disclosed in Access format, included their ID number, last name, father name, first name, date of birth, polling center, place of birth, residence code, list number, phone number, s ‘they are an emigrant and if so, which country, whether they are likely to vote for the Socialist Party, their place of birth, their employer and their boss. The data is believed to come from the Civil Registry and was collected by the e-Albania portal.
The patronage system is one by which every person in the country has a “patronazhist”. He is a low-ranking civil servant or even a simple member of the party to whom several members of the public must “watch”.
This means that they are responsible for getting closer to those they are monitoring to obtain information from them which is then reported to the party. The information includes their political affiliation and opinions and who they are likely to vote for in the election. Prime Minister Edi Rama admitted to using this system since 2009.
Many citizens publicly named their clients and said the information gathered was incorrect. However, people are angry that the PS tried to “spy” on them. Some of the comments used by customers also raised concerns, including racial slurs, personal family information and derogatory comments. Others included where they worked, notes to contact them to get their employees to vote for the PS, religious beliefs and calls to check their social media platforms.
In a bizarre attempt to turn the tale around, senior PS officials have attempted to portray the Bosses as a positive thing.
Over the weekend, during a meeting with young people in Tirana, Prime Minister Edi Rama decided that the theme of his speech would be the Bosses. He described them as normal in political school and as individuals who go door to door asking them questions about their problems. He also said they were “treated badly”.
The mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj also defended them. He said:
“The word Patron has become a hot topic these days. We are very grateful to all of our clients who try to meet people, explain the program and show real things ”.
I find this story quite astonishing. Using potentially stolen data, the ruling party has assigned a network of party members to observe, monitor and report on citizens, most of the time without ever speaking to them. The fact that they are trying to normalize this one way or another is one of the most bizarre political maneuvers I have ever seen.
Under the communist regime, a very similar system was in place. Each apartment building had at least one or two spies tasked with observing, monitoring, and reporting to the party. Apart from that, members of the public became informants, sometimes denouncing their spouses, children, extended family and closest friends.
This devastating way of sowing mistrust and pitting people against each other has left significant wounds in Albanian society which are still visible today. The utter betrayal that people must feel upon finding out that this is still happening is hard to understand.
But what worries me more is the fact that the personal data of nearly a million people is available and no effort has been made to protect it. A leak of this size and with this type of data is incredibly dangerous. Criminals now have access to intimate information about nearly half of the country’s adult population. This means they can open bank accounts, take loans, set up online accounts, open bogus social media platforms, forge ID cards and documents, buy items on credit, commit crimes, underwrite. a phone contract, ruin your credit score, buy a house, withdraw money from accounts, get a SIM card in your name, and get any other number of privileges or property that they might not otherwise be able to use using their last name.
Yet nothing has been done about it. No party headquarters have been raided, no politician has announced an emergency procedure that he will implement to minimize the damage, no one has apologized and, instead, the prosecution has prosecuted them. journalists. Yes, you read that right. Instead of investigating how this happened and trying to figure out how to limit the damage, they forced the reporter who broke the story to pass on their data and potentially their source.
What happened last week, and what seems to have been going on for years, may be one of the worst privacy breaches I have encountered. The lack of an appropriate response from authorities and politicians is also most infuriating.
Don’t fall for this rhetoric that patrons are normal and a good thing. They are not. But don’t let them interfere with the fact that their lust for power has put the safety of all of you at risk, either.