Irish BMD indexes back on web
The Republic of Ireland’s civil registration indexes have been made available online for a second time – nine months after they were removed from the web following security fears.
Dating back to the 19th century, the birth, marriage and death indexes were first uploaded to irishgenealogy.ie in July 2014 by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
While basic indexes up to 1958 could also be viewed on familysearch.org, the database proclaimed to hold the more recent ‘enhanced’ entries created by Ireland’s General Register Office.
However, the records were removed from the web just days later when it was discovered that they included data about thousands of living people.
Although it was pointed out that the same information could be accessed by visitors to the General Register Office in Dublin, Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes said the mistake was an example of “public service failure”.
“We had been consulted on it in the context of putting on the registers which were more than 100 years old – that would be fine, but this was a total shock to us,” he told The Irish Times.
Mr Hawkes felt that details such as a birth date or a mother’s maiden name, which were on the website, could be used to attempt fraud or identity theft.
Following discussions between the General Register Office, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner and the Department of Social Protection, the indexes have now been reinstated, but this time excluding all birth records created within the past 100 years, marriages within the past 75 years and deaths within the past 50 years.