In the Netherlands' "register once" system, new identity-related information is made available to all government systems that require the information.
To ensure privacy and data protection, access to personal information in the population register is provided only as needed for each type of service.
The country study is part of a compendium of good practices supporting SDG target 16.9, published by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and the Centre of Excellence.
A case study on the Netherlands describes an integrated identity system built around one single data entry point: the ‘register once’ principle. The country study is part of a compendium of good practices for advancing SDG target 16.9 (provide legal identity for all, including birth registration) published by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and the Centre of Excellence.
Legal provisions prohibit government authorities from seeking citizens’ personal information data if the information has been previously registered.
According to the publication, use of the “register once” principle allows residents and non-resident citizens to register new identity information only once, as the system is designed to ensure that new identity-related information is made available to all government systems that require the information. By the text, the “register once” approach is so critical to the functioning and efficiency of the system that legal provisions have been implemented to prohibit government authorities from seeking personal information data from citizens if that information has been previously registered.
The authors explain that the Netherlands’ identity system is based on a municipal registration processes that registers vital events, address of residence of the population in their territory, and other personal information that facilitates communication between citizens and public authorities. The case study notes that municipal population registers in the Netherlands have traditionally reflected a holistic approach to civil registration, vital statistics and identity management, with each new layer of identity information from birth until death being recorded in the population register using information on registered vital events. This information is also used as a source of identity data to issue ID documents and update identity data in other government functional systems.
The records in municipal population registers are synchronized daily with the central population register, the ‘Personal Records Database,’ which mirrors all personal records from all municipal population registers. The central population register simplifies the process of sharing personal information with all public administrators and service providers within a regulated environment, providing up-to-date personal information to other public administrative authorities and service providers that connect to the register through dedicated application programming interfaces.
The publication explains that, to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy, public administration and public service providers are not legally allowed to ask for personal information that citizens have previously registered in the population register but when citizens present their national identity card or unique identification number, all personal information that is required for the delivery of a specific service must be retrieved directly from the central population register. Furthermore, to ensure privacy and data protection, access to personal information in the population register is designed so that for each type of service only a specific set of personal information is provided, which is determined to be proportional and sufficient to fulfill a specific service.
The overall publication titled, ‘Compendium of Good Practices in Linking Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and Identity Management Systems,’ also features five other country case studies: Armenia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia and Peru. The authors note that the benefits of a holistic approach to CRVS and identity management span several aspects of governance, including ensuring people’s rights, improving service delivery, reducing corruption, and leaving no one behind. [Compendium of Good Practices in Linking Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and Identity Management Systems – The Netherlands]