Irish govt. genealogy site leaks personal data

Jul 23, 2014 | Regulation

An Irish government genealogy site has been criticised by the country’s data watchdog for leaking ID information. The Irish Genealogy site left personal data open to identity thieves, including a date of birth, an area where someone grew up and their mother’s maiden name were put online. IrishGenealogy.ie, which is run by the Department of […]

An Irish government genealogy site has been criticised by the country’s data watchdog for leaking ID information.


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The Irish Genealogy site left personal data open to identity thieves, including a date of birth, an area where someone grew up and their mother’s maiden name were put online.
IrishGenealogy.ie, which is run by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, removed the information as soon as concerns were highlighted.
John O’Dwyer, Deputy Commissioner with the Data Protection Office, said the website should have been more careful.
“They took the appropriate action once it was brought to their attention. However, we would have expected they would have been more conscious, putting personal data available like that.”
Speaking to the Irish Times, Commissioner Billy Hawkes told the Irish Times said he was “shocked” by the amount of data that had been available.
He described the situation as a “cock-up” and a “shocking example of the public service falling down on the job”.
The genealogy site was launched in 2013 to help Irish citizens trace their ancestors and draw up a family tree.
In a statement, the Office of the Commissioner said it had advised the Irish government on the creation of the site and had been assured it would only use information from birth registers more than 100 years old.
However, said the statement, it had become clear last week that the site had featured data from contemporary civil records about living individuals.

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