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I was changing my address a week ago and I noticed that it said in tiny letters that the information I provide may be used for direct advertising, marketting, scientific research, data collection and "other things" (rough translation).

I'm not comfortable with that. I'm not even comfortable with the fact that I am unmarried, married, divorced, undivorced, etc is getting registered somewhere. Even place of birth, although I could see reasons for place of birth (identification). Why would they even need to know my marital status, etc? It's my personal life (if someone comments on that - bonus points!)

Can I legally opt out of such use of my personal information or legally refuse to provide it, according to any of the EU laws? I believe that GDPR only covers websites and not information you provide to the government.

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    GDPR covers any storage or use of your info by a private party, whether there is a web site involved or not,. but there are some exceptions for government agencies, and I am not sure if you would be able to opt out there, so this isn't an answer. Sep 21 at 1:59
  • Thanks for explaining however, that was still helpful in a different way. :)
    – user40988
    Sep 21 at 3:23
  • Where did you notify your change of address? what rights (if any) pursuant to GDPR did the counterparty disclose to you? Sep 21 at 8:52
  • I have filled documents at a police station and the papers they gave me had small print on second (of 2) papers that the data I fill in may be used for these things.
    – user40988
    Sep 21 at 18:56
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The GDPR does apply to government as well, but that doesn't mean you automatically get a right to opt out. Under GDPR, every collection or further processing of personal data needs a legal basis. Well-known legal bases are “consent” or “legitimate interest”.

But instead, your country's registry will likely operate for “a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority” (Art 6(1)(e) GDPR) or may be under a legal obligation to maintain the registry (Art 6(1)(c) GDPR). Then, it is up to those national laws to specify which data shall be collected and whether and how you can opt out (see Art 6(3) GDPR).

A lot of things seem personal/private, but have interactions with the rest of society. E.g. marriage and divorce is not purely personal, but is a status granted by the state and has implications e.g. for social security and taxation. Similarly, religion might be relevant for taxation. Districts have a legitimate interest in having accurate statistics about the demographics of their residents. It is up to national laws to strike an appropriate balance, and this balance will differ drastically depending on the cultural context. Whereas this paragraph is written from a German perspective (detailed registers but also strong awareness of data protection issues), other countries might not have such registers at all, whereas some even publish personal records such as tax filings.

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  • Thank you for explaining so well. I do now understand that there are legitimate interests. However then I would like to keep the use of my data for taxation reasons (and similar) only. Direct marketting and advertizing and scientific statistics research are certainly not legitimate interests. Is there any way to counter that, since the documets state that they may be used for it? The "other things" is also very disconcerning, basically saying that they can sell it to Google and Facebook if they wish so without my consent.
    – user40988
    Sep 21 at 18:55
  • @user40988 To which degree you can opt out depends on the specific laws in your country.
    – amon
    Sep 22 at 10:33

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