Where is our personal data? (I)

Have you ever wondered about how many times does a person give up their personal data in their lives? From enrolling at school, reading a will or even when getting a ticket: society impels human being to give up information about themselves, be it in their best interest or not.

From the moment that a kid comes into this world, parents initiate an identity creation process. They decide a name according to their own taste. After, in line with the culture and legislation of each country, they choose surnames to accompany those chosen names.

In this post, I will try to mention those organizations and institutions to which we give in one way or another our data at some moment in our lives. For this, I will take into account my personal experience.

Civil Records

After the birth, parents must inscribe the baby in the Civil Records of their country. According to the institutionalization established. But, even before the registration, we are giving out our first personal data in life. Have you ever thought about this?

The future mum assumes that during pregnancy a series of exams with the objective of obtaining information of the baby. The specifics depend on the country’s health system. But there are some basic elements to consider: weight, height, cephalic perimeter, possible malformations or congenital diseases. And when one is born all these tests are repeated.

Nevertheless, the first official document that parents do is the birth inscription (certificate). And this way, the first identification data of a citizen emerge. At least with a name that represents them before the authorities.

The process of inscription wasn’t always like this though. At times before today, one would register a newly born just in the churches or parishes of the nearest town. Many still go to religious authorities to baptize babies and thus, inscribe them in the ecclesiastic registries.

Today it might seem unbelievable with so much development and modernity but in many countries millions of people still don’t have a birth certificate.

Health Records

Depending on the jurisdiction where the baby is born, a birth registration may or may not contain the verification of the event by the midwife, a doctor or even a competent authority. Which is why, from the start our personal data is at the expense of actual validation.

When many days since the birth have passed, in most countries the first mandatory doctor’s visit to the family is done. Then again, things like size, eye color, blood type, etc… are checked. These health files are enabled according to physical and clinical tests. They also include vaccines. It’s necessary to have a more reliable record than the parent’s memory.

How many times do we ask ourselves if we already had this or that vaccine shot? We even doubt of more important information sometimes, like medicines we are allergic to.

Imagine a child that lost his parents, or that moved in with his grandparents or that traveled with some friends and needs his health data to receive urgent medical attention in a hospital.

Where is the health data stored?

Even though some health centers have a reliable registry of clinical histories, this is not the case for all. Even in some developed countries, everything becomes more complex with diseases that need to have successive diagnosis and treatments. It requires great memory and organization efforts from the family to keep up to date.

Among so many medical specialties, plus the variety of primary attention centers or psychological centers, there are many facilities studying and operating an individual’s health data. Managing so much information can be a complication.

School or development data record

With name and surname(s) registered and our physical or health characteristics, we enter into life. Many parents have some kind of binnacle of the child’s advances, measuring height by marking a wall or even with photos, diaries or apps.

When infants reach certain age, many go to care centers, like kindergarten or day care. Again, they and their data go through a registration process.

These will stay in the centers’ records. To open these records, they ask again for the birth certificate, the ID documents, medical records and a vaccination card. In some cases, having to gather all this information becomes a real headache for parents.

Primary school

When they start their primary school years, the parents are asked again for all the personal information of the child. This is how you do the school records. This document will gain in elements, from the best features the child has all the way to bad behavior, if it applies.

Let’s put ourselves in a parent’s shoes: his child is excellent in math, was this talent inherited? Would he like to compare his grades with his little one’s? Maybe compare them with a relevant scientist like Einstein at his age?

Imagine the amount of data that a person accumulates while in their study years. Many reach a basic primary education and have the need to start working at an early age. But those who achieve a higher school level accumulates hundreds of thousands of data in about 20 years. Considering even the possibility of coursing postgraduate courses or PhDs.

This way, a person accumulates information throughout all their school years. Imagine adding a sports center, music school or arts, to all the usual study centers!?

This post put together a series of institutions and circumstances where people are obliged to give up their personal data in the first decades of life. But adulthood in this modern age is a period where forms, paperwork and other formalities multiply.

To follow up on this chronology, check the next post.

After this post, do you think that the processing of personal data throughout an individual’s life is done in a unified way? Organized? Easy for everyone? We need your opinion! Please leave a comment here.


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M.B.P (CEO FySelf)

Architect by profession, always passionate about new technologies. Man of enterprises and challenges. He dreams of a world where technology helps us to improve as human beings.

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