Use of personal identification code (2011)

2011 / 09 / 30 Tags:
In September 2011, HRMI conducted a study “Right to Respect for Private Life: the use of personal code“, which aimed to review the developments of the legal framework and its practical application regarding the use of personal identification numbers, i.e. personal codes. The progress in comparison with the findings of similar research in 2004 was obvious: the Law on Personal Data Protection now prohibits collection and use of personal codes for direct marketing purposes. A number of instances when personal code is requested has decreased. However, there are still cases when personal code is requested for disclosure without reasonable grounds, e.g. while purchasing foreign currency, requesting for refund for bought goods, using car services.A number of other problems specified in 2004 study remain: thus far no action has been taken to set a new personal code structure, which would not reveal the person’s gender and date of birth. In particular, this sensitive and redundant information encoded in personal identification numbers harm transsexual persons. The use of personal code is still widely regulated by sub-statutory legal acts, while under the Law on Personal Data Protection the usage of this private data can only be regulated by statutory law. The practice of processing personal identification numbers without consent of their owner is still widespread.

In order to improve the existing legal framework and its practical application HRMI suggested introduction of the minimization principle in the Law on Personal Data Protection. This principle requires that only the minimum amount of data which is essential for the pursued objective has to be collected and disclosed. Once again, HRMI recommended reforming the way personal codes are construed so as to avoid disclosure of sensitive information about person’s gender and age. It was recommended to prohibit the regulation of personal code usage by sub-statutory legal acts; to simplify the procedure for changing personal code, when a person goes through gender reassignment; to establish liability for illegal acquisition and processing of personal code.

Full text of the study in Lithuanian can be found here.