All data collected for statistical purposes are confidential with the exception of certain data in the Register of Enterprises and Establishments (Statistics Act, Section 18). Respondents' identification data, such as name or personal identification number, are not collected or stored unless it is necessary for the production of the statistics. Collection of identification data is usually necessary when identification data are needed for combining the collected data with some other data.
Besides the Statistics Act, the production of statistics is also subject to the Personal Data Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities. Data protection provisions define what data can be collected, how data may be processed and in which form they may be published.
When data collected for statistical purposes are being processed, it is seen to that no person's privacy or business or professional secret are endangered. To maintain confidentiality, collected data are protected against misuse during all stages of statistics production.
Data collected for statistical purposes can be released for use in scientific research or statistical surveys, as a rule in unidentifiable form. Exceptions are data in the Register of Enterprises and Establishments, and data describing the activities of central and local government authorities, and the production of public services.
In interview surveys, interviewees must be told beforehand what purposes the collected data will be used for. Collected data may only be used for the purposes interviewees have been told about.
Last updated 23.11.2005