Shop employee fined for posting picture of PM shopping without mask

Take note – story published 2 years ago

The Data State Inspectorate has fined a former shop employee who published photographs of Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš shopping without wearing a mask at a time when it was mandatory, at the end of November 2020, Latvian Television reported August 5. 

The pictures in question had in fact been taken earlier in the year when masks in stores were not required.

Until early October last year, Oļegs Baikovs worked as a guard at an alcoholic beverage store. He's been unemployed since then. “I have three children. I'm unemployed right now. It's an unbearable punishment,” said Baikovs, who was fined for publishing the photos.

Baikovs received the unpleasant news of the fine more than half a year after it had happened. The Data Inspectorate imposed a fine of €500 for publishing photographs of Prime Minister Kariņš on social networks.

The Inspectorate said that it was an illegal use of personal data because the Prime Minister's photographs were taken from the store's video cameras. In the photographs, Kariņš can be seen without a face mask.

The picture was published at the end of November last year. Baikovs said he didn't work in the shop at the time and had only shared it within his own circle. 'I deleted it when the former boss called and told me the pictures appeared [on the Internet]."

But the Data Inspectorate has different information. The photos appeared in different profiles of social networks, but they were related to each other.

Deputy Director of the Inspectorate Lāsma Dilba said: “We were also informed about a number of other episodes when this illegally obtained information was published on social networking sites. The information was published from two or three allegedly different [profiles], but the inspection also had information that the real user of these profiles was one person.”

The Prime Minister explained the images on social networks as follows: pictures were taken in summer when wearing face masks had not yet been mandatory.

This was also confirmed by the investigation carried out by the State Data Inspectorate. The inspection indicated that the day when these pictures were taken coincided with the day of Baikovs' shift. Baikovs has the right to challenge the decision on the application of the administrative penalty.

“This decision is the initial one made by a Data State Inspection official. And this person under administrative responsibility has the right to challenge or, in the terms of the law of administrative penalties, to appeal this initial decision to the Director of the Data State Inspectorate,” Dilba explained.

All shop guards sign a document on data protection before the start of the shift on not further disseminating records of video cameras, Latvian Television reported.

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