Protecting the data

The confidentiality of all information collected by the CSO from individuals, households or business is guaranteed by law under the Statistics Act 1993.

The Statistics Act 1993 reinforces the independence of the Central Statistics Office and data confidentiality. The Act provides for the confidentiality of all data collected by the CSO including census data. Under this Act “Information collected may be used only for statistical purposes, and no details that might be related to an identifiable person or business undertaking may be divulged to any other government department or body.”

This gives you a legal guarantee that the information you provide on your census form will be treated as strictly confidential by the CSO. It will only be used for statistical purposes, and the results will be prepared and published in a fair and impartial manner.

All information collected in the census is treated as strictly confidential by the CSO and will be used only for statistical purposes. You can be assured that:

  • Your census return will be collected and processed by officers of Statistics employed directly by the CSO. No-one else will have access to your census form.
  • No other government department or agency will have access to identifiable information relating to individuals or households.
  • The CSO operates as a “one way street” in the sense that identifiable data comes in but does not leave the Office. The need for confidentiality is stressed in the training of CSO headquarters and field staff. All staff are made fully aware of their legal obligations in this respect and there are penalties of up to €25,000 for any breaches of confidentiality by staff.
  • All census 2016 forms will be processed in our census office in Swords where all information is stored on a dedicated closed CSO network which is wholly owned by the CSO; at no time will any of this detailed census information be copied or otherwise removed from this network; all staff who will be employed to work on the processing of the 2016 census data, including any contract support staff, will be signed-up as officers of statistics which legally  prohibits them from divulging confidential statistical data of any sort.
  • The CSO is justifiably proud of its unblemished record in protecting the confidentiality of data. It is one of our top priorities to maintain this record.