Referring to yet another complaint about notorious electoral data firm C-Planet Solutions, filed by European digital rights NGO noyb, the director of the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Matthew Caruana Galizia, said, “we need the truth about who is spying on everyone in Malta”.
The Daphne Foundation’s comments on the long-running saga came in light of its role in pushing through the original complaint filed in 2020 when C-Planet Solutions was exposed as the flashpoint of a massive leak of data belonging to over 330,000 voters. Besides ID card numbers, addresses and phone numbers, the data included their political preferences and was found to be available to the general public without as much as a password or identification restriction.
In its comments on the subject, the Daphne Foundation supported noyb’s efforts to squeeze the requested information out of the IT company following the second complaint at the office of the IDPC.
“The desire of public authorities to get to the bottom of a serious crime must be greater than the desire to close the file and move on. We need the truth about who is spying on everyone in Malta, about who collected that data on a huge number of voters,” Daphne Foundation director Matthew Caruana Galizia told The Shift when reached for comment.
“The Labour Party has not denied responsibility. Noyb’s complaint is a chance for the IDPC to attack the root of tribalism and impunity in Malta and, like the 600 plus people who joined our class action, I hope they take it. The only alternative is more of the same,” he added.
On 29 April, noyb filed a second complaint against C-Planet with the Information & Data Protection Commissioner’s (IDPC) office, following up on its previous complaint which led to a €65,000 fine for the company for its illegal collection of data and leak of personal information.
“However, C-Planet still did not give the name of the person from whom they received the data, and Maltese citizens are still left in the dark about the origin of the collected data. noyb is now explicitly asking the IDPC to order C-Planet to provide information about the original source of the data,” a statement published by noyb reads.
During the course of investigations following up on the leak, C-Planet Solutions claimed that they had been provided with the data by one of their clients. While it remains unclear who sourced the data, a report published on 2 February by the Times of Malta named Untours, a travel agency owned by the General Workers’ Union, as the unknown source.
“However, according to the decision, C-Planet stated that the actual source of the data was a ‘specific individual’ who no longer works for the client,” noyb’s statement adds.
The company in question is owned by Philip Farrugia, a former production director at the Labour Party media, One Productions. He is also the brother-in-law of public works minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, whose legal firm was found to be intrinsically linked to the database itself given that access was left open to the public through the same legal firm’s back-end which could be accessed with a simple Google search.
Following the leak, the Daphne Foundation, together with NGO Repubblika, had launched a joint legal initiative for those whose personal data was revealed through the data leak from the servers of the company C-Planet Solutions Ltd. Over 620 claimants applied to participate in the collective action.