From RSI to National Identity Number?: Tracking the Development of the Personal Public Service Number
Cian C. Murphy
Center for Transnational Legal Studies
Irish Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference 2006
The paper tracks the development of the Personal Public Service Number. It examines the development of the number since the introduction of the RSI number in 1993, through its rebirth as the Personal Public Service Number and the expansion of its use in recent years.
The focus of the paper is to analyze whether function creep means the Number is becoming Ireland's National Identity Number by stealth. It examines the response of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner to the developments, and that of politicians. The paper takes a comparative approach to the question of whether Ireland needs a single unique identifier in the provision of e-services, paying particular attention to the public-private sphere divide, and recent developments in health and local government sectors. Furthermore, the paper questions the method used to expand the number's use, and the implications of such an approach for proper public debate.
Finally, the question of data protection is addressed, asking how citizens rights are being infringed by the development of the Number, and what action, if any, steps should be taken to counteract this infringement.
Keywords: Irish law, Data Protection, Identity Cards
Date posted: July 17, 2006