France – Using Social Security number to identify medical records

By EDRi · December 6, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

A new amendment proposed by the French Minister of Health Xavier Betrand is
considering using the National Identification Record (NIR) as the identifier
of a patient in the health sector.

NIR is a unique number of every person in France, included in the
national registry of natural persons. Created from data on the civil
status of French nationals and residents, the NIR allows indirect
identification of a person. It is made of 15 figures, indicating
gender, birth year, month and place (municipality or 99 for foreign
countries), and registering number of birth in the municipality. The
NIR is used by the Social Security Service and by employers in the
management of social benefits

The Health Minister has suggested an amendment to the draft law on
financing the Social security discussed by the French Senate. The text wants
to make the NIR as the key to access the personal medical record.

The usage of NIR has been limited, along the time, by the French Data
protection authority (CNIL) . But now there are voices within the
institution that will accept such an extension, with just a couple of weeks
before its opinion on this subject will be taken.

However, civil right groups have promptly reacted by pointing out that such
usage could open a dangerous backdoor in the security of the medical files
and will allow the interconnection of the sensitive data.

A public appeal has been initiated and opened for signatures on 2 December
2006 by Human Rights League (LDH) and DELIS (Droits Et Libertes face a
l’Informatisation de la Societe). The appeal is highlighting the fact that
the NIR could be found in various files and this is just the final step
before the interconnection. The NIR could be used as a social security
number, but also to access the personal medical records and therefore the
privacy right could be easily breached.

The appeal wants to prove to CNIL that the French citizens, in order to keep
the citizens freedom, do not want the extension of the NIR usage in the
personal medical records.

Appeal – My private life in the public eye, never ! Don’t touch my social
security number (only in French, 2.12.2006)

Press Release of the LDH (Ligue des droits de l’homme) and DELIS (Droits Et
Libertes face a l’Informatisation de la Societe) (only in French, 1.12.2006)

The social security number could become the access key to the medical file
(only in French, 14.11.2006),1-0%402-3226,36-834271,0.html