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Greece introduces electronic Citizens’ Register to get rid of bureaucracy

Greece is poised to strike a critical blow against its notoriously Byzantine bureaucracy with the introduction of a new electronic Register of Citizens. The plan is scheduled to go online on January 22, and will act as a central database for registry offices and municipalities throughout the country.

According to athensnewsagency, the interior ministry’s nationwide IT system will link up 1,036 registry offices and 325 municipal rolls throughout Greece, as well as the Special Registry Office in Athens, and include all acts of registration by Greek citizens.

This will mean that those entering into transactions with state services will no longer be obliged to submit certification from municipal rolls and registry offices relating to births, marriages, deaths and family status since these will be available to online via a secure electronic connection.

Interior ministry’s Interior and Electronic Governance Secretary General Theodoros Economou told the news agency that the register will allow such documentation to be sent automatically to the relevant municipalities with one click, saving time for both individuals and for municipality staff, who had been obliged to repeat the same processes from the beginning each time.

For example, he said, if an Athenian citizen was married in Iraklio, Crete and registered the marriage at the Iraklio registry office, he or she would not need to take a copy of the act of registration to Athens to update his or her family records since this would be done automatically via the system.

The same system will also support other public administration functions, such as the issue of IDs and passports, the issue of the AMKA social security numbers and certificates for school enrollment.

When the system goes online on January 22, direct access will be given to the Hellenic Police (ELAS), the education ministry, the Single Social Security Agency (EFKA), the farmers’ pension fund OGA and the foreign ministry. There will also be “semi-automatic” access for the finance and national defence ministries, the Electronic Social Insurance Governance (IDIKA), the independent statistical authority ELSTAT and the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), while other state agencies have expressed interest.

PS A central data base full with citizens’ data. If security is guaranteed… But why should ELSTAT and KEELPNO have access to this database is one more Greek wonders.

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  1. Here are my thoughts: Was the public given any input before the roll out of this system? Did the public consent to this? It involves everyone; did the public get a vote whether or not they wanted this? Isn’t Greece supposed to be the birthplace of democracy? I don’t want all my information being stored in a central database. This doesn’t represent democracy to me. How about an opt out for those not in favor of a(ny) central database collecting our sensitive information?

  2. Thanks JMM, totally agree. Say there is a central database – do we get copies of that data in case something conveniently goes missing from the electronic files? And what happens if there is electronic warfare??

  3. This is very Big Brother. Increasingly. Greece and the EU in general are becoming more and more dedicated to controlling all of us, and everything about us. This cannot possibly be secure, yet they will want more and more data about all of us. None of this is being done in our best interests.

  4. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    I notice that the Data Protection Authority has nothing at all to say on this important matter. In the past, they intervened to block security cameras on the streets; and the Statistical Service refused to provide Pasok (and me) with proper Census datasets for statistical analysis to be used for government policy planning. Generally, Greece’s whole approach to statistical data is something appropriate for the Third World, and not for a member of the EU. There is no conceptualisation of individual rights, no conceptualisation of the needs of the State, and no legal balance adjudicated between the two competing needs. Instead. we are treated to bureaucratic and legalistic nonsense by overpaid lawyers with no ability to comprehend anything.

  5. Hecataeus Miletuss

    After reading this article, I can only think to say, “Just what do you think you are doing.. Dave”?