Data collected by Statistics Finland for statistical purposes may be released for purposes of scientific research and statistical surveys on society. When considering the granting of a licence to use basic data, Statistics Finland first determines whether the data can be processed at Statistics Finland to obtain the statistics requested by the applicant. In considering the application, account is also taken of the applicant's possibility to obtain reliable rests on the basis of said material. If authorization is deemed to be appropriate, particar attention is paid to data protection issues. In granting a licence to use statistical data, the following principles and conditions are observed.
The applicant for a licence may be an official body, an institution or a person in charge of a study. Applications may also be filed by individual researchers. In cases where the applicant is an official body or an institution, authorization is granted to a specific person or to specific persons. If the specific person(s) changes or transfers to another institution and wishes to continue the study from there, re-application for a licence shall be filed. The ring of persons using the data must be indicated as specifically as possible. The licensee is under obligation to ensure that other persons using the data are aware of, and comply with, the conditions governing authorization for the use of statistical data.
In accordance with the stipations in force, basic materials of Statistics Finland may only be used for statistical and research purposes. The data may not be used for administrative, monitoring or correspondence purposes.
The applicant for a licence shall specify, in sufficient detail, both the purpose for which the statistical data are to be used, and the material requested from Statistics Finland, and any other statistical data that will be used. A research plan shall be appended to the application wherever possible.
Licences shall not be granted for materials covering data the whole country (e.g. census data) or a whole region (for example, the whole population of a municipality). Authorization to use entire data files (such as a data file on all those that have completed a given level of education) is generally granted only in exceptional cases (for instance, research purposes or material that is not sensitive).
The decision to grant a licence to use basic material possessed by Statistics Finland is made independently. Thus, since the entry into force of the Statistics Act (1 February 1994), data received from for example other State authorities or institutions may released without authorization from said bodies.
When considering the granting of a licence, account is also taken of the other materials that the applicant already has at his/her disposal. If a licence is granted and the of material in the possession of Statistics Finland requires combining with other materials, this combination must take place within Statistics Finland. Statistics Finland shall remove all identification data from the combined material, in the manner specified below.
Identification data (in the case of data on individuals, personal identity numbers, names, addresses, precise dates of birth and any other pertinent data; and in the case of other statistical units, the identification data) shall be removed from the material for which a licence has been granted, or the data is made rougher or combined in order to prevent identification. The information to be removed or the manner of combination shall be indicated in the licence decision.
The identification data can be left unremoved in cases where the applicant requests data on the cause of death among a group of people specified on the basis of personal identification. Information on age, gender, education and occupation may also be released with identification data shod the applicant be entitled to collect such data by virtue of the Personal Data Act. This must be indicated in the application. An additional requirement is that the release of the data in identifiable form is viewed as essential with regard to the study.
The data may only be used for the purpose indicated in the decision. The data shall be treated as confidential, and they may not be relinquished to others without authorization from Statistics Finland. The requirement of the pledge of secrecy is based on the recommendation of the European Commission on the independence, integrity and accountability of the national and Community statistical authorities. In addition to all employees of Statistics Finland, external users of data must also sign the pledge of secrecy.
Authorization to use statistical data is usually granted for a given period. For this reason, the licence application to use statistical data shall specify the estimated duration of the licence required for the purpose intended. In exceptional cases, the period may be left unspecified if this cannot be determined for the intended use of statistical data for which the licence is being sought and if aspects of data protection can be taken into account to a satisfactory extent by other means. The material received shall be returned to Statistics Finland within the period indicated in the licence. Any copies of the material obtained shall be destroyed. Statistics Finland shall be notified of their destruction.
A licence to use statistical data may be made conditional to apply only within the premises of Statistics Finland (e.g. entire materials as mentioned above). The licensee may also be required to submit the survey or the research report to Statistics Finland prior to publication.
The person who, on behalf of Statistics Finland, serves as the contact person on issues relating to the release of material and use of statistical data is indicated in the licence decision.
The application for licence to use statistical data and
pertinent appendices shod be addressed to the Register Office of
Visiting address: Työpajankatu 13, 2nd floor, Helsinki
Postal address: FI-00022 Statistics Finland
Last updated 2.10.2009