Ir­ish BMD in­dexes back on web

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - ON THE RECORD -

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 ir­ish­ge­neal­ in July 2014 by the Depart­ment of Arts, Her­itage and the Gaeltacht.

While ba­sic in­dexes up to 1958 could also be viewed on fam­i­, 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.

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