News | Sunday, 07 December 2008

New data protection commissioner was architect of government’s ‘common database’

The man whom government and opposition agree should become the new Data Protection Commissioner was responsible for setting up government’s Common Database System in the 1990s.
MaltaToday can reveal that Lawrence Gonzi and Labour leader Joseph Muscat have agreed to appoint Joseph Ebejer, 60, as the new commissioner for data protection.
A civil servant whose last post was that of permanent secretary in the ministry of social policy since 2000, Ebejer will find himself immediately immersed in controversy as Labour leader Joseph Muscat has already sent him a request to investigate Paul Borg Olivier’s email even though his appointment has not been yet officially announced.
Ebejer joined the Civil Service as a clerk typist in 1965. In 1971 he was appointed executive officer within the Claims and Records Section, to later head the Enforcement and Industrial Injuries Section of the Department of Social Security. In 1977, Ebejer was posted to the Child Allowance Section where he worked till 1987, where he converted the payment of Child Allowance from a manual to a computerised system.
In 1987, he was posted back to the enforcement section, becoming assistant director responsible for enforcement, administration and finance in the department of social security. He also served on various committees, including the Internal Audit Advisory Committee, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Malta-EU Relations and on the project committee for the computerisation of the Department of Social Security. He was also the EU Desk Officer of the Department of Social Security.
In 1994, he was appointed director of Civil Registration, responsible for the Passport Office and the Civil Status Office, as well as for the setting up and maintaining the Common Database System (CdB). This system enabled the implementation of the ‘one-stop shop’ concept within various government departments.
In 1997 he introduced a computerised system for the issuing of passports which, for the first time in Malta, enabled the issuing of machine-readable passports.
Ebejer was subsequently appointed director (policy and planning) within the Ministry for Home Affairs in July 1999. Here he served on the task force for the organisational restructuring of the Police Force, the drafting of the law on data protection and privacy, electronic commerce and computer misuse, the committee to re-draft the arms ordinance, and the inter-ministerial committee on refugees.
He was also a member of the Appeals Tribunal set up in terms of the Prison Regulations of 1995 and was responsible for the civilianisation process of the passport control points at airport and seaport. Last August he was appointed president of the foundation for social welfare services.


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