A personal identity number system is an essential feature of any kind of a large scale registry. A system of unique universal numbers facilitates access to various data sources making feasible scientific and administrativeuses of data not otherwise possible.
This description of a personal identity numbering system in an operating population register is timely for countries considering the establishment of identity numbers. For others, the technical and administrative problems make for interesting study.
Identity numbers, especially universal numbers, immediately give rise to concern about invasion of privacy of individuals. This was a matter of national concern in Sweden which led to the establishment of the Data Inspection Board. This Board authorizes the establishment and maintenance of a data bank about individuals, and issues directives on the management and maintenance of data to obviate any undue invasion of privacy of individuals.
The following aspects are covered in the article: various registrations in Sweden; construction of personal identity (ID) number; administration of the ID number; use of ID number; advantages and challenges using ID system; privacy issues; and future plans.
The article is technical report No. 3 of the International Institute for Vital Registration and Statistics (IIVRS), published in 1979.
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