Page 1 of 1

Military records in the Second World War

PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:56 pm
by junkers
The article on the magazine home page "How to find four key Second World War records" is actually incorrect. The Second World War had started for the United Kingdom on 3 September 1939, but Poland had been attacked two days earlier and which brought the UK into the war because of the UK's declared treaty obligation to protect Poland and Hitler's refusal to withdraw from Poland. The reason why some of the records are not online is nothing to do with data protection as the war diaries could be put online if a company asked to undertake it. Given MOD's refusal to open up the service records of the soldiers from the inter-war years (1921-1938) despite researchers pressing The National Archives to talk to MOD about them, there is little chance of any further releases, the attitude of The National Archives that the releases has been stated as "nothing to do with them" (TNA) shows we cannot rely on their help, what a change from 1972 when most of the Second World War records were released early.

Re: Military records in the Second World War

PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:39 pm
by AdrianB38
junkers wrote:... The reason why some of the records are not online is nothing to do with data protection ...

Indeed.
1. Records released by the MoD to applicants (who are not the veterans) are clearly not subject to
data protection.

2. If a veteran is now dead, then data protection does not apply to them. (Although the MoD have invented, I believe, a spurious duty of care to the next of kin to postpone releases for a further number of years without permission of the next of kin).

3. Data Protection was no barrier to the general (i.e. partial) release of the 1939 Register for England & Wales.

Therefore some personnel records (those of deceased veterans) could go online. A more likely reason is that (a) programming redaction of papers of veterans who are still living is likely to be expensive in both coding and image identification; (b) that cost may means it's not a commercial proposition. If either of those are (as I suspect) the real reason, will the authorities in the MoD and TNA stop treating us like children who can't understand words of more than 1 syllable and simply tell us. Oh, and by the way, it is not for the MoD or TNA to say that it's not a commercial proposition - that is a decision that can only be made by the IT suppliers.

Re: Military records in the Second World War

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:50 pm
by junkers
I see from Rosemary Collins' article from RootsTech London 2019 that the Ministry of Defence will have (they say) a new virtual search for their ancestors’ Second World War army, navy and RAF records, with the MoD aiming to launch it online within the next two years. I take this with a large pinch of salt, given the MOD haven't sorting out the 'Inter-War years' period and there are still quite a few people alive from the Second World War and therefore data protection applies.

Re: Military records in the Second World War

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:45 am
by Guy
AdrianB38 wrote:
junkers wrote:... The reason why some of the records are not online is nothing to do with data protection ...

Indeed.
1. Records released by the MoD to applicants (who are not the veterans) are clearly not subject to
data protection.

2. If a veteran is now dead, then data protection does not apply to them. (Although the MoD have invented, I believe, a spurious duty of care to the next of kin to postpone releases for a further number of years without permission of the next of kin).

3. Data Protection was no barrier to the general (i.e. partial) release of the 1939 Register for England & Wales.

Therefore some personnel records (those of deceased veterans) could go online. A more likely reason is that (a) programming redaction of papers of veterans who are still living is likely to be expensive in both coding and image identification; (b) that cost may means it's not a commercial proposition. If either of those are (as I suspect) the real reason, will the authorities in the MoD and TNA stop treating us like children who can't understand words of more than 1 syllable and simply tell us. Oh, and by the way, it is not for the MoD or TNA to say that it's not a commercial proposition - that is a decision that can only be made by the IT suppliers.


The problem is not the MoD or the TNA, the problem is the European Union and the ridiculous laws they dream up, specifically the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679.

Why do I say that because the regulations go far beyond the data but include:-
“26 The principles of data protection should apply to any information concerning an identified or identifiable natural person. Personal data which have undergone pseudonymisation, which could be attributed to a natural person by the use of additional information should be considered to be information on an identifiable natural person. To determine whether a natural person is identifiable, account should be taken of all the means reasonably likely to be used, such as singling out, either by the controller or by another person to identify the natural person directly or indirectly. To ascertain whether means are reasonably likely to be used to identify the natural person, account should be taken of all objective factors, such as the costs of and the amount of time required for identification, taking into consideration the available technology at the time of the processing and technological developments.”

To put the above simply if data held contains information about a person and that person may be identified either by the information held or by any addition information the data controller must treat the data as data containing an identified person.

That requirement is so wide ranging that it is almost impossible to allow any data to be released as the data controller cannot possibly know what additional information may be held to enable identification of data they hold or may have access to.

To take this to the extreme if a data controller has a form which gives a persons name and also a blank space for the name of his/her father or mother then those blank spaces could be interpreted as
information concerning an identifiable natural person because further research could identify the persons mother and father.

Cheers
Guy

Re: Military records in the Second World War

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:11 pm
by junkers
junkers wrote:I see from Rosemary Collins' article from RootsTech London 2019 that the Ministry of Defence will have (they say) a new virtual search for their ancestors’ Second World War army, navy and RAF records, with the MoD aiming to launch it online within the next two years. I take this with a large pinch of salt, given the MOD haven't sorting out the 'Inter-War years' period and there are still quite a few people alive from the Second World War and therefore data protection applies.


Sounds to me a good reason for leaving the EU!.

Re: Military records in the Second World War

PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:40 pm
by AdrianB38
junkers wrote:I see from Rosemary Collins' article from RootsTech London 2019 that the Ministry of Defence will have (they say) a new virtual search for their ancestors’ Second World War army, navy and RAF records, with the MoD aiming to launch it online within the next two years. I take this with a large pinch of salt, given the MOD haven't sorting out the 'Inter-War years' period ...


No information about how effective the facilty was but it does seem to have been a "Live post 1921 service record search facility", rather than just WW2. See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/your-chance-to-question-ministry-of-defence-medals-and-records-experts-at-family-history-shows--2