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Government offices trade charges over whether census is anonymous

Slovakia’s Office for Protection of Personal Data announced that anonymity is not guaranteed in the census of the population, doing so only a few hours before the citizens were to begin completing census forms, the Sme daily wrote.

Slovakia’s Office for Protection of Personal Data announced that anonymity is not guaranteed in the census of the population, doing so only a few hours before the citizens were to begin completing census forms, the Sme daily wrote.

The Office for Protection of Personal Data recommended that the Statistics Office instantly cancel the obligation to affix a number code allocated to each citizen on the census forms, as it is then possible to identify a person based on that number.

The Statistics Office responded that this statement was purpose-driven and threatens the success of the census. The Office for Protection of Personal Data also threatened that it would file a motion with the General Prosecutor’s office regarding the matter. Collection of census forms started on Saturday, May 21, and will last until June 6.

Several census commissioners across Slovakia have said that people have refused to affix identification codes on their census forms or even to fill out the forms. Interior Minister Daniel Lipsic said that it is up to each citizen whether she or he will complete the form and added that no one will be sanctioned if they do not.

The head of the Statistics Office, Ludmila Benkovicova, said that the success of the census would be harmed only if 5 million people behaved in this way. Benkovicova added that the Office for Protection of Personal Data has threatened the census with its statement closely before the census’s start. The Interior Ministry said it does not want to enter the argument between the two institutions.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Jana Liptáková from press reports
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