Ministry wants to reduce scope of real estate portal searches by name

e-Land Register home page.
e-Land Register home page. Source: RIK

The Ministry of Justice says it wants to eliminate the scope under which personal data can be searched for via the e-Land Register, citing data protection concerns.

Searches can be conducted through the portal, operated by the Center of Registers and Information Systems (RIK), via a person's name and ID number, and the ministry fears that this could be utilized for nefarious purposes.

"If a person owns only one immovable property, this is most likely also their place of residence, meaning a curious or malicious individual could easily located them," the announcement, made on Friday, read.

The ministry said that it will alter the use of real estate registers which will prevent searches by individual names and ID numbers and; owner data may be obtained by searching by address, cadastral number or e-Land Register number, once the changes are made.

The ministry says it wishes to both boost the protection of personal data and privacy and to limit the public ownership principle regarding the land register, to as low a level as possible, as the land register must continue to guarantee the integrity of real estate be a sound basis for real estate transactions.

The ministry is waiting for feedback on the proposed changes and believes that private data can be better protected in this way.

In its press release, the ministry justified the need for this on the basis of concerns expressed by people that their place of residence could be found via the land register.

Under the current system, information on a property is publicly available, though documents relating to the property are available to the public only if there is a legitimate interest.

In mid-October, the Ministry of Justice sent a letter to other ministries and to the Government Office, stating its desire to map possible changes to Public Information Act, and is awaiting feedback on same.

Responses received revealed that most agencies would like further to limit public access to information, and expand options for making closed documents from interested parties.

The e-Land Register allows quick and easy verification of general data, size, owners, restrictions and encumbering mortgages of immovable properties, the register says on it website.

If data on immovable properties is required on an infrequent basis, individual queries can be made via the portal without entering into any agreement; larger volumes of data can be obtained after registering as a customer of the e-Land Register, the site adds.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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