Yes They Can (The Data Hash Up)

Data Processing (for Political Parties) made Simple

from the Data Protection Act (2000) [Cap.440 Laws of Malta]

Article 2:


“processing” and “processing of personal data” mean any operation or set of operations which is taken in regard to personal data, whether or not it occurs by automatic means, and includes the collection, recording, organisation, storage, adaptation, alteration, retrieval, gathering, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making information available, alignment or combination, blocking, erasure or destruction of such data;

Article 14

Any body of persons or other entity not being a commercial body or entity, with political, philosophical, religious or trade union objects may, in the course of its legitimate activities and with appropriate guarantees, process sensitive personal data concerning the members of the respective body or entity and such other persons who by reason of the objects of the body or entity have regular contact therewith:

Provided that sensitive personal data may be provided to a third party only if the data subject explicitly consents thereto.

It’s a bit like the hash bars in Amsterdam, as Vincent Vega explains:

It breaks down like this: it’s legal to buy it, it’s legal to own it, and, if you’re the proprietor of a hash bar, it’s legal to sell it. It’s legal to carry it, but that doesn’t really matter ’cause – get a load of this – if you get stopped by the cops in Amsterdam, it’s illegal for them to search you. I mean, that’s a right the cops in Amsterdam don’t have.

Guess who writes the laws? Guess for whose convenience they are written?

A bit like whoever drafted the laws about the hash bars in Amsterdam (Tarantino’s Amsterdam by the way, the real Amsterdam does not really work that way).

It’s the PLPN (TPFKAMLPN). I wonder in the meantime whether the fact that you criticise both parties regularly is sufficient ground to be considered as “having regular contact therewith”. If not Pawlu and Jason might have a hard time explaining the legality of all the processing that goes on in their respective houses.


One response to “Yes They Can (The Data Hash Up)

  1. Yes, but there is another section of the same law which it makes it very clear that:

    a) regardless of the very woolly exception to which you allude, political parties still need consent to maintain data;

    b) political espionage does not exactly constitute a party’s “legitimate activities”;

    c) no guarantees of any kind have ever been given, still less “appropriate guarantees”;

    d) even if a political party enjoys the data subject’s consent to process personal data, the info can only legally be used for the specific purpose for which it was collected.

    In practice this means if data is collected for the purpose of (eg) sending out informational leaflets, but is instead used to establish whether one is Nationalist or Labour, then the party would need to inform the data subject of the use to which the info is being put, and get express (written) consent before proceeding.

    This was explained to me by the late data protection commissioner Paul Mifsud Cremona shortly before he passed away. Needless to add, government is not exactly tripping up on itself in its mad haste to replace him.

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