PPS Numbers and “Cradle to Grave” Tracking

Cian Murphy gave an interesting talk on the privacy implications of PPS numbers at the recent IALT Conference:

Since September 2003, the PPS Number has been allocated automatically on the basis of birth … A PPS number is required for revenue purposes in all employment, for welfare receipt, local authority grants and tax relief at source. It is, in effect, almost impossible to function in the State without a PPS number.


While originally the list of bodies concerned was relatively limited, the spread of use into areas of security and the private sector, albeit to a limited extent, makes it increasingly likely that it is only a matter of time before the Number is universally used.


The PPSN is clearly well on its way to becoming a national identity number … From birth, a person’s progression through different life events will all be capable of being monitored through the use of a single eight digit number: full ‘cradle to grave’ tracking will be possible.

With his permission, the full paper is now available here .