A report compiled by former Chief Superintendant of the Police Geir Jón Þórisson entitled “Summary of the structure of the police with protests from 2008 to 2011” has been found by the Data Protection Authority of Iceland (DPA) to have been illegal, as it breaks privacy laws.
According to the ruling, the report – which Geir compiled as a summary of the Pots and Pans Protests – violated privacy laws in two ways. Firstly, because the report listed not only the names but also other personal information on numerous protesters. This information included, at times, the political opinions police suspected of participants, their family connections and their supposed state of mental health.
Secondly, the report was not only subsequently released to the media last year; attempts to black out names with a marker apparently failed, as it was still possible to read the names in question.
Geir Jón has already responded to the ruling, Stundin reports, with a telling admission:
“This is just a summary of everything that was already in police records,” he said. “If police cannot compile their own data in a police report, then all police reports are illegal.”
The contention that political opinions and family connections are just a normal part of a police report seems to contradict statements made last November that police do not keep records of such information. Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir, responding to the then-newly released report, asserted at the time, “The best that I know is that this is a special case. … We do not maintain a database of the opinions of other people, political beliefs or anything like that.”
The DPA has given the police until May 31 to submit regulations regarding their registry service, to ensure that privacy laws are respected.
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