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Paul Barrett

GDPR and Genealogy: The living and the dead

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Paul Barrett

Having started down the GDPR path with the 12.0.1 release, I undertook a little personal project to investigate it some more, because I was concerned about how it impacted on the information I hold on living people whose information was entered without their knowledge.

I recorded my findings in my blog:

GDPR and Genealogy: The living and the dead


 

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Paul Barrett

Thank you!

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Katryne

This decoding of the legal issues was necessary, Paul. Thank you for that.
It is true that our TNGs are amateur sites, and as such not really concerned with GDPR, but we do collect, handle and publish sensitive personal data, and about living people.

Despite this new legislation, I am not going to change much my way of communicating through this media. Because the GDPR is not for us French a revolution, but a very progressive evolution of the privacy protection that we have implemented for decades. The main real revolution is its extraterritoriality when it involves citizens of the European Union.

In application of our already long-standing legislation on the protection of personal data, I was compelled almost 10 years ago to make my genealogical research private, at the request of 3 persons of my family. Although data less than 100 years old were already private, in accordance with French legislation. So I reserved my work for the members of my site, deleted my trees online on the large generic genealogy sites and consequently, limited the possibilities of exchange and knowledge sharing.

My family's protesters didn't do their research work conscientiously: their personal data still exist on the Internet without me being the editor, because other family members have personal genealogy sites and online trees on generic sites.  People need to be aware that their privacy is their responsibility.

Let us hope that one of the effects of the GDPR will be this public awareness about privacy. For the time being, this regulation has above all highlighted the fundamental differences between the cultures of the various countries and the resulting legislations. In France, DNA research is formally prohibited, except for medical or judicial reasons, as are racial or religious statistics. These strict legal prohibitions are so integrated into our mores that they are taboo.

Many non-European sites already bar access to European residents so as not to risk violating extra-territorial regulations and the penalties that could result. Does this GDPR go too far and risk accentuating these misunderstandings between our cultures and reproducing a Babel Tower?

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Paul Barrett

Well said Katryne

I think the extra-territoriality issue is perhaps one of the more contentious issues.  I have had already had pushback from a couple of US Facebook users  whose attitude is that they will act only when forced to by the US Congress.

I would add the following to the list of new features that GDPR brings

1. The rights to view, and request correction and deletion (the right to be forgotten)

2. The harmonisation of Data Privacy across the EU. (The UK too has had decades of Data Privacy regulation.)

May I ask a favour?  Your comment is so pertinent that I'd love it if you could copy and paste it as a comment on the blog post.  I'd do it for you but then it woud appear that I am commenting on my own content.

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Paul Barrett

Thank you!

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Katryne

Done Paul.

Note that my answer in English owes a lot to the deepl.com on line translator (not a Google product !)

And that I had juste read this article which certainly inspired some of my insights : https://theconversation.com/le-rgpd-vu-des-deux-cotes-de-latlantique-des-divergences-philosophiques-inconciliables-100192

As a British citizen, a European citizen, the GDPR should have surprised you less than our cousins across the Atlantic, since the 1995 European directive already applied to the United Kingdom. But there already exist differences between our philosophy and legislation and yours (about DNA research, I think, for instance).

Here is an article I wrote 2 months ago : https://technifree.com/articles/?url=/0-root/4-rgpd/

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Paul Barrett
3 minutes ago, Katryne said:

Done Paul.

Note that my answer in English owes a lot to the deepl.com on line translator (not a Google product !)

And that I had juste read this article which certainly inspired some of my insights : https://theconversation.com/le-rgpd-vu-des-deux-cotes-de-latlantique-des-divergences-philosophiques-inconciliables-100192

As a British citizen, a European citizen, the GDPR should have surprised you less than our cousins across the Atlantic, since the 1995 European directive already applied to the United Kingdom. But there already exist differences between our philosophy and legislation and yours (about DNA research, I think, for instance).

Here is an article I wrote 2 months ago : https://technifree.com/articles/?url=/0-root/4-rgpd/

I would never have guessed the your reply was from a non-native English speaker.

On DNA, I stand united with France.  In fact there are specific provisions in GDPR to cover genetic data.  I think the inherent dangers of recording DNA information outweigh any possible benefit.

The UK Government has indicated that the GDPR based Data Protection Act 2018 will stand even after the disaster of Brexit (don't get me started on that abomination) but we will have to see how that pans out.  I don't trust politicians further than I can throw them.

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Newark

Personally, I don't see a problem if firstly, all living people are hidden by employing the Living flag, and secondly, you only record for living people, information which is already in the public domain and freely available and ascertainable within literally minutes over the internet. If such information is freely available, then it cannot be regarded as 'private'. I limit my input for living people to name, dob & registration district, parents names, mother's maiden name, children's names and dob's & date and place of marriage. All that is ascertainable from the BMD indexes, via the usual portals very quickly. In my view, this legislation is aimed at enterprises that hold private information on individuals, like passwords, credit card details, medical details and the like. Personally, I won't be losing much sleep over it all. 

The right to be forgotten aspect is a disgrace and amounts to censorship. If you don't want your past crimes to be re-found, then don't commit crimes in the past. 

That there is massive confusion over all of this, says a lot about the sloppy wording of the legislation. A cynic might draw the conclusion that as most politicians tend to be lawyers, it is done deliberately to keep their colleagues in work!

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Bernard

Publishing of this kind of  information of living people (also information  found in the public domain) is not allowed without explicit permission of that person. Therefore I disabled the publication of information of all living people (also for registered users!).
My question is:  is there a way in TNG to set a flag for an individual to enable the publication of his record? (Otherwise: default is NO and only YES to flagged persons (persons who has given me permission to publish  their information to others than to myself)?

 

 

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Bill Herndon
4 hours ago, Bernard said:

Publishing of infomation of living people found in the public domain is still forbidden. I disabled all information of living people (also for registred users) because otherwise, I can not comply tot the EU GPDR. But is there a way in TNG to set a flag for a living individual to show the information only for that person (so: default is no, only show for some people)?

 

Keep things simple: Don't allow any information on living individuals into your TNG database in the first place; Scrub your GEDCOMs before upload and vet all information submitted by registered and non-registered users.  Taking things one step further...don't have registered users at all and vet all information into a private TNG database or personal genealogy program that you control.

These are the steps that I employ on Lindell-Herndon Genealogy, and I don't find that it impedes my ability to do research nor to collaborate with other researchers.

k/r

Bill Herndon

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Paul Barrett
5 hours ago, Bernard said:

Publishing of infomation of living people found in the public domain is still forbidden. I disabled all information of living people (also for registred users) because otherwise, I can not comply tot the EU GPDR. But is there a way in TNG to set a flag for a living individual to show the information only for that person (so: default is no, only show for some people)?

 

Yes.  If the Living flag is set, that person's record is suppressed except for logged in users.  You can default the living flag to always on as an additional level of security

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Ken Roy
7 hours ago, Bernard said:

Publishing of infomation of living people found in the public domain is still forbidden. I disabled all information of living people (also for registred users) because otherwise, I can not comply tot the EU GPDR. But is there a way in TNG to set a flag for a living individual to show the information only for that person (so: default is no, only show for some people)?

 

You could simply set View Info on Living to Depends on User Rights and then not grant that privilege to anyone

 

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Bernard

Hi Ken, so nobody can see it then. But if I want to show my details to any visitor, what do I have to do?

 

 

 

 

 

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Bernard

@Bill: yes, I think that is the best sollution. It is safe (also for hackers). I don't want or have registered users (because it still won't comply with the GDPR).
The GDPR is all about individual privacy rights and has nothing to do with registred users. 

But how do I disable the showing of documents and photo's and other files from (only) living people. I uploaded a new gedcom without the names of living but I can see all documents and photo's I have added via TNG?

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Bill Herndon

Bernard,

You are posing what I consider to be a records management question.  Here's what I do...

First, I make a simplifying assumption that all documents, not including photographs, are sources...no exceptions.  Every document has a unique tag and that unique tag is also used as the document's filename.  I then divide all my sources into three categories:

  • Sources:  In other words, public domain sources or sources that have a transferable copyright
  • Reserved:  In other words, sources that I have paid money to obtain and that distinguish my database from less well-researched works
  • Private:  In other words sources the content of which might reveal details of living individuals

Only the first category is transferred up to my TNG database (...and I have a private mod that does all the database linking, identifying sources by filename and linking them to their source records).  The second category is referred to only by their TNG source entries...no attached document.  The third category is neither transferred up nor is available via a source entry because in scrubbing living individuals, the source entries are scrubbed as well.

Photos are a different matter, I simply never load anything into the TNG photo archive that refers to the living.

I realize this doesn't help you with your situation--material already in your database.  I decided early on to not let myself get into that situation.  Although, I have to wonder...why not just dump your whole database and reload from GEDCOM?  Then if you've scrubbed the documents directory and applied a little records management, you could load a new GEDCOM carrying as a payload just references to documents/sources that don't refer to the living.  I do the whole "database dump and reload" a few times a year anyway just to make sure that fields like Geocodes get imported (since they don't get exported unless they're attached to an individual record that has changed).

Just thinking out loud.

k/r

Bill Herndon

Lindell-Herndon Genealogy

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Bernard

Thank you for your comprehensive answer. Yesterday I uploaded a new gedcom file without all living people.  I hoped there was a simple solution in TNG to disable all other uploaded information connected to living people. I have to consider your option, it is a lot of work and I have to figure out how  i can do that with my local program (Legacy). It is indeed a record management problem, so I searched the wiki for a suitable mod but could not find one. Most of the privacy mods are about being registered or not. But that is not enough to be compliant with the new privacy law.

Bernard Wortelboer

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Ken Roy

Bernard,

The simple answer is to setup Admin > Setup > General Settings > Privacy so than Names for Living and Private are not shown and the viewing of information for Living and Private is set to depends on user rights.  Then visitors will only see the word Living and any media associate will show a message the item is suppressed because it is associated with a Living person or one marked Private.  

If you also do not want Users to see the information then do not grant that privilege to any user

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Bernard

Hi Ken,

it sounds simple but for me it isn't. It simply does not work here:

my Admin >  Setup > General Settings > Privacy setings are:
Require Login: No   
Restrict access to assigned tree:  "Require Login" must be set to Yes to enable this option
Show LDS Data:  Never  
Show Living Data:  Never
Show Names for Living:   No
Show Names for Private:   No 
Show cookie approval message:    Yes
Show link to data protection policy:    Yes
Prompt for consent regarding personal info:   No

I removed ALL mods, I am logged off.
But for all living people I can still see Photo's, Documents, Histories, Albums linked to that person.

I changed the privacy settings:
Show Living Data:  Depending on User Rights

Also, same problem (no difference)

 

Above is a problem for me now but it is no answer to my initial question:

How can I setup TNG to display information of a small subset of living individuals
(with above settings: by default: no display of all living unless this person has given me permission to publish his information)

Bernard Wortelboer

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Ken Roy

Bernard,

The TNG Administrator can see everything, so you need to be logged out for the privacy settings to work as I indicated

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JPB
vor 24 Minuten schrieb Bernard:

Yes, but can you see the photo's and documents for my record. I am living

... it is very nice that you are living! 😊

Please look at the picture:
If you select "Always viewable", the "Media" is always shown. Try to remove the selection, maybe it helps.

Jürgen

media.jpg

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