(Postal) adderss point and privacy

Some of countries has been opened their Address point data from their portal.
e.g. Netherlands, Belgian and some of US cities?

In those countries, how does the government handle those with Personal Information Act on the countries?

In my understanding, Personal data and personal information is linked to person.
And address point is just a lat/lon coordination of numbers. Similar to fact.

But in Japanese Personal Information Act, “easily linked” data is treated as quasi-personal information.
So JP municipalities hesitate to publish the address data they has.
(Even Google or other platform provides geocoding as their service.)

Do you know any discussions or references about this issue?

Hy @nyampire,

you can have a look to the results of the last open data index https://index.okfn.org/dataset/postcodes/

The Index points to this dataset for Japan addresses https://index.okfn.org/dataset/postcodes/



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@pzwsk Thank you. As I’m a contributor of the Index (for Japan) , so I know it well :slight_smile:

My concern is the interpretation of law and Personal Information (law or directive).
In the other words, how those “opened” countries treat the address point data as non-personal information by law?

Great so maybe you can clarify what the dataset contains? The Index says no lat/long but maybe you already have the rest of the data (municipality, postcode, street, number, etc.) for the whole country?

In France, and some other other countries in EU, the address register is now considered as an high value dataset that should be made available as open data for social and economic reasons.

The EU Directive on open data, currently under revision, should enlarge this principle of high value data to all member countries.

What I am saying is that a decision of opening or not the data took into consideration both the general interest and privacy issues and for the case of France it was considered that general interest was prevailing and that the data does not contain personal information. Here is what the address register website says: “this database only references the existence and geographical location of an address. No personal information is included in this database.”


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Thanks again! I guess the most of address point data includes those column which you mentioned (e.g. municipality, postcode, street name, housenumber and sometimes ID for each buildings).
And as a geo data, it has lat/lon as geometry for each points.
It does not contains house owner’s name or any other personal information.

So if EU and other countries sites those as non-personal data/information, it could be very informative to me. (if so, I can focus on this as a Japan specific issue regarding “easily linked/referenced/connected” data publication.)
Although I’m curious EU and Japan have been adopted Equivalent for Persona Data Protection :slight_smile:

And the renewed PSI Direcitive is very ambitious. I’m also interested in what impact could be on future of OpenData.

In Brazil we don’t have the postal codes as open data for a different reason. The public mail company (Correios) does sell the database, claim intellectual property (!) on it, and they do not want to cease a source of revenue. Civil society has many times asked for the data to be open and has been repeatedly denied.

I don’t think that personal information of postal codes is a problem here. As @pzwsk mentioned about the argument used in the EU, postal codes tipically only identify streets and blocks, not individual people. There might be some place where a postal code identifies an individual residence, but I haven’t come across such an example. Yours was the first time I have even seen this concern being mentioned.

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Hi @herrman one clarification, we do have in France and other countries in EU address data point at the individual house or flat level, because we do not consider an individual house as personal information. On the same ground, France recently releases properties’ transaction value.


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Yes, if address point data is not opened in several countries, the issues might be various.
It is a nice point which @herrmann mentioned, but I would like to focus on the issue regarding on Personal Information/Data here.

Even in Japan, we have several reasons of non-open other than Personal data/privacy problem, e.g. “it is managed in papers, no data available” in some municipalities :), or probably such a data is made for some “purpose” so department refuses because “open” is a “un-Intended Purposes”, and so on…

I appreciate if we could gather best practice or case of law/regulation perspective from our community to take a discussion on each countries.