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Census taking is in line with data protection, commissioner says

feature nick the 2021 census will start in october

Personal data protection commissioner Irene Loizidou Nicolaidou clarified on Thursday that the census currently being carried out by the statistical service is in line with the EU’s general data protection regulation (GDPR).

The commissioner issued a written announcement saying she had received many queries on the issue from members of the public and journalists. It followed media reports that some members of the public had cited personal data protection in interviews with census takers.

Nicolaidou said that under the GDPR the processing of data for statistical reasons was permitted provided it is carried out within the framework of the law and of proportionality.

The census being carried out by the statistical service is covered by EU directive 763/2008 and is carried out at the same time in all EU Member states, in accordance with their national legislation. Her office has been consulted and has approved this procedure, she added.

As the statistical service has said and as stated in the census document available online, the census here is being carried out in line with the 2021 law on official statistics.

Member states can choose a unique identifier required for the census. In Cyprus, where obtaining an ID is compulsory, the unique identifier is the ID number. In countries where a national ID is not compulsory, a different unique identifier can be used, she said.

“I add that my office is in consultation with the statistical service and other bodies regarding the possible creation of a dynamic population register so that in future census need not be carried out with traditional telephone or in-person interviews which burden the public,” she concluded.

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