The Commission for Personal Data Protection (CPDP) has issued new guidelines to municipalities prohibiting the publication of detailed information about individuals who have been subject to “public reprimand.” The reason for the new guidelines was a signal received by the CPDP from MP Hristo Petrov regarding the practice of publishing announcements of administrative sanctions for “public reprimand” of minors on the websites of municipalities. This is a problem that the National Child Network and the Legal Aid Network of NMD have been informing institutions and the public about for years.
The punishment of “public reprimand” is expressed in public reprimand of the offender before the work collective where they work or before the organization in which they are a member (Article 14 of the Labour Code). According to Article 52 of the Criminal Code, public reprimand consists of “public censure which is announced to the relevant collective through the seal or other appropriate means.” It is precisely for such “other appropriate means” that municipalities accept “censure” on their websites, where a very large amount of personal data of the reprimanded children (three names, place of residence, number of the administrative order, etc.) has been published for years.
The CPDP points out that the publication of data on publicly reprimanded children on the Internet is in contradiction with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the practice of the EU Court and the Law on Child Protection. According to the new guidelines, when enforcing an imposed administrative sanction for “public reprimand,” information about EGN, date and place of birth, ID number, exact address, personal data of third parties, and other personal data not related to the purposes of the punishment should not be disclosed.
Municipalities should review the content of their websites and remove all old messages that are in contradiction with the CPDP guidelines. The announcement of “public reprimand” should only be visible in designated places (e.g. information boards) in the buildings of the municipalities for a period of one month from the date of its announcement, after which it should be immediately removed.
The Legal Aid Network of National Network for Children calls for the new CPDP guidelines to be only the first step in a comprehensive revision of the system of punishment for children in conflict with the law, as well as for the necessary reform of the justice system for children and the prevention of child criminalization in Bulgaria to finally be carried out.