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'strictly prohibited' CSO issues warning as 1926 census is uploaded

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THE Central Statistics Office (CSO) has warned it is illegal to publish census data that is less than 100 years old after pages from the 1926 census began appearing on social media.

It's understood an individual yesterday began uploading pages from an original census book which had been left untouched for decades.

There was no malicious intent on behalf of the person uploading the pages. It is believed they were unaware of the law, which is designed to protect privacy.

Names and dates of birth from scans of one of the original, handwritten census return books were among the information that was being posted online.

The CSO has been in contact with the individual, who began removing the content.

It is unclear how the 94-year-old book came to be in the possession of the individual, who has had it for years and only now decided to upload it.

"A copy of the 1926 census has been posted on social media in breach of legislation which closes all census returns from 1926 to the public for 100 years," the CSO said.

"Publication of this data is strictly prohibited and could lead to possible sanction under Section 38 of the Statistics Act."

The 1926 census was the first undertaken by the Irish Free State.

"It seems that this was discovered and the person in question thought it would be interesting to put it online, so people could search for information about their grandparents or family," a source said.

"They were very apologetic about it when they found out and it's clear there was no deliberate attempt to break the law."

The Data Protection Commissioner is being informed of the incident on the basis that there may be data in the document pertaining to people who are still alive.

Alerted

It's understood that the original book is being sent to the National Archives of Ireland by its discoverer.

"The CSO has alerted An Garda Síochána and the National Archives to the publication of an extract from the 1926 Census on social media," the CSO added.

"In addition, the CSO has made contact with the individual who posted the material, who has agreed to remove the material from social media."

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