# Clean-up of Unreferenced Data
Any data entered into the RIPE Database must comply with the RIPE Database Terms and Conditions. Over a period of time, data is changed and references are removed. This often results in many of the secondary objects (for example organisation, person, role and mntner objects) being left in the database and serving no useful purpose. In order to keep the database clean and to comply with data protection rules, this unnecessary data must be removed. New personal data should not be stored in the RIPE Database beyond a reasonable "work in progress" period before it is referenced by operation data objects.
Cleaning up this data has been discussed many times at RIPE Meetings and on the mailing list of the RIPE Database Working Group (opens new window)
The authority to clean-up this data was first given to the RIPE NCC at the RIPE 40 Meeting in Prague in 2001 (opens new window)
The scope was expanded at the RIPE 41 Meeting in Amsterdam in 2002 (opens new window)
A clean-up process (opens new window) to do periodic clean-ups was put in place in 2003. However, this process proved to be inadequate and the number of unreferenced objects continued to grow.
The issue was raised again at the RIPE 54 Meeting in Tallinn in 2007 (opens new window), continued on the RIPE Database Working Group mailing list throughout 2007 (opens new window) and then consensus was reached at the RIPE 56 Meeting in Berlin in 2008 (opens new window).
A simplistic implementation that cleaned up unreferenced person and role objects was started on 26 january 2009. However, since this approach was incomplete (e.g. it did not detect person-maintainer pairs as described below) it was largely ineffective. The process was therefore stopped again on 21 March 2014.
Since 6 September 2016 the RIPE NCC has implemented a more complete clean-up process for the following object types:
If the organisation, person or role object is unreferenced, it is eligible to be deleted. If a person or role object is only referenced in a mntner object and the mntner object only references that person or role object, then both the mntner and the person or role objects are eligible to be deleted.
To be deleted, they must be unreferenced by any other object, and must not have been referenced by any aut-num, domain, inet(6)num, route(6), as-set, filter-set, inet-rtr, peering-set, route-set, rtr-set, as-block, key-cert or irt object during the last 90 days.
Notifications of the deletion of objects will be sent to anyone who has optionally included a "notify:" attribute in the person, role or mntner objects, or a "mnt-nfy:" attribute in the mntner objects. These notifications include a link to this page.