Varsovian Card Challenged

Helping Varsovians

Helping Varsovians

The Inspector General for Personal Data Protection (GIODO) is considering a complaint about the new Varsovian Card (Warsaw resident’s discount card). “We are considering informing the relevant authorities about a possible crime being committed,” said Inspector Wojciech Wiewiórowski. He said that if a data administrator or official charged with protecting personal data discloses or provides access to data by unauthorised persons, he/she could face a weighty fine or a two-year jail sentence. If the disclosure of data is unintentional, the offender would also face a fine or jail sentence of one year. In recent weeks GIODO has audited Warsaw City Hall, the Public Transport Authority (ZTM)  and the Ministry of Finance, which cooperates in the verification of persons applying for a Varsovian Card. The Inspector General found irregularities in the processing of personal data in all three institutions. Firstly, it was found that the city collects data on where somebody pays their income tax, although there is no legal basis for it. The Ministry of Finance, also without legal basis, provides questionable personal information to City Hall. The Inspector General emphasised that the municipality has the right to use the data of the national register of tax-payers only for proceedings relating to council tax, not income tax. Secondly, according to the Inspector General, the agreement by which the Ministry of Finance and the Mayor of Warsaw have entrusted each other with the processing of personal data in their respective institutions was a breach of the law. Thirdly, the most serious breach was committed by ZTM. On 21 November, 2013, that is before conclusion of the Varsovian Card agreement, ZTM gave the Ministry of Finance access to a database of all persons aged 18 to 70 years who have a personalised Warsaw Travel Card. This took place before the Mayor of Warsaw formally authorised ZTM to verify the eligibility of persons applying for a Varsovian Card. This concerns all registered customers of ZTM, not only those interested in the Varsovian Card. The Inspector General has not yet sent the results of the GIODO audit to the Ministry of Finance, City Hall or ZTM but he emphasised that these institutions have already been informed about the detected irregularities.

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