The Slovenia Times

Information Commissioner launches inspection


The commissioner thus responded to allegations that surfaced in recent days and culminated in Tuesday's visit to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) by three members of the parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services (KNOVS).

Democrats (SDS) MP Žan Mahnič, who led KNOVS's operation on Tuesday, said the aim of the visit was to check reports about alleged spying on politicians engaged in negotiations on a new SDS-led coalition following PM Marjan Šarec January resignation.

While KNOVS was provided with information on investigations involving covert methods from the start of 2019 onwards, Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar refused to hand over data on other open procedures, saying this exceeded KNOVS's competences.

She rejected any political influence on the police's work, as did PM Marjan Šarec and his advisor for national security Damir Črnčec, who some reports indicated was behind the alleged meddling.

Bobnar also spoke today to the press on the sidelines of a police ceremony in Tacen, announcing police were investigating individuals outside the police force over suspicion they engaged in illegal spying.

She said the information collected by Wednesday had already been forwarded to the state prosecution and confirmed that this also pertained to the examples of suspected espionage that had been listed by Mahnič as justification for KNOVS's operation.

While Mahnič spoke of photos taken of former Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) Karl Erjavec and his Porsche during a vacation in Croatia and photos of a meeting featuring Erjavec's successor Aleksandra Pivec, Bobnar said that different kinds of criminal offence could have been involved, including unjustified filming.

Meanwhile, experts mostly agreed on Wednesday that KNOVS was not authorised to oversee the police beyond its covert activities and argued this was the role of internal police oversight, of the Information Commissioner and the Specialised State Prosecution.

Bobnar explained on Wednesday that the police conducted regular oversight over the processing and use of personal data contained in its records. Oversight is also conducted by the Police Directorate and by the Information Commissioner, she added.

Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar again echoed Bobnar's views today, saying internal oversight in the police force was effective.

"The whole of Slovenia is the hostage of a few web portals who created a story that does not contain even a single grain of truth," he said.

Mahnič on the other hand announced on Wednesday that the material denied to KNOVS would now be demanded of the police by the SDS-led parliamentary inquiry commission investigating public office holders' potential responsibility for the prosecution of councillor Franc Kangler and others.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Information Commissioner explained for the STA that it was conducting inspections at the police force in line with its annual plan as well as on the basis of individual complaints that point to suspected illegal processing of personal data.

It pointed out that more and more inspections related to illegal accessing of police records were also the result of complaints filed by the police force itself on the basis of internal oversight.

Since 2017, the commissioner has led 68 such procedures, including an extensive one in 2018 which the commissioner launched on its own to examine the processing of personal data in the records of 12 senior politicians.

Six offences related to illegal accessing of police files - these entails a fine of EUR 830 - were established in 2018, nine in 2019 and three this year so far.


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