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State wishes to add data on bank details, nationality to population register

Interior Ministry building on Pikk street,  in Tallinn's Old Town.
Interior Ministry building on Pikk street, in Tallinn's Old Town. Source: Ministry of the Interior

The interior ministry has issued proposals to widen the scope of the national population e-register (Rahvastikuregister), to include nationality and native language, as well as bank details.

The registry covers both citizens and residents of Estonia.

The ministry's proposal would also see court rulings and data on multiple residencies included in the register, while steps towards archiving the data with the national archives have also been put forward.

Raivo Küüt, deputy secretary general of the interior ministry, with the population and citizenship portfolio, informed the Ministry of Education and Research of a need to also start including data nationality and mother tongue, within the population register.

In addition to these changes, the state wants to be able to archive and delete some of the population register data, as a resource-saving measure.

Raivo Küüt also addressed the National Archives of Estonia (Rahvusarhiiv), asking for that institution's expectations and guidelines in this arena.

Küüt wrote: "The population register contains various types of data - personal data, data from documents relating to that personal data, voter registration data, procedural data, data that assists in maintaining the population register, and non-current data from the population register."

"According to §8 subsection 1 of the Population Register Act, the population register data is stored on a permanent basis," Küüt continued.

The section in question reads:

§ 8.  Preservation of data in population register
 (1) Data entered in the population register are preserved permanently, except data on access to data specified in clause 25 3) of this Act which are preserved for five years.

Küüt addressed several other ministries, including the Ministry of Finance, whom he informed about plans to begin amassing data on people's bank accounts, within the population register.

This was, ERR reports, justified by Küüt by the need to "provide proactive services," without defining precisely what this may mean.

The proposed changes would also add information about multiple residences an individual may own, to the population register, in addition to that concerning their primary residence.

Population Register home page in English. Source: Population Register.

The plan is also to enter any court rulings in respect of an individual, into the population register also, Küüt noted. These should automatically start being added from 2027, while the responsibility for this matter falls to the Ministry of Justice.

The archiving of population register data has been on the agenda for many years, Küüt added, hence sounding out the National Archives for an assessment on how to do so, on a large scale.

Analysis and agreement is due to be ready by the end of 2025.

The Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture is responsible for the actual analysis and additional work relating to places of residence.

Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) introduced the memorandum concerning his vision for the population register to the cabinet in November, ERR reports.

After considering this memorandum, the government tasked the relevant ministries and bodies with implementing it, where possible ahead of the deadline.

ERR approached Minister Läänemets, deputy secretary general Küüt and the Ministry of the Interior's comms department for comment, but none was forthcoming between now and the end of the year.

The population register is a database which includes primary personal data of citizens and residents of Estonia. This data is used for fulfilling the duties assigned to the state, local municipalities, and to legal or natural persons, the register notes on its website.

The register is managed and developed by the Ministry of the Interior as data controller, and the ministry's IT and development center as data processor.

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Editor: Karin Koppel, Andrew Whyte

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