Significance of data protection in statistics compilation
Data protection is a fundamental principle of official statistics, by which to ensure the availability of reliable basic data and the confidence of data suppliers. Attending to the protection of data is a prerequisite for the trust Statistics Finland must have when collecting data.
To be able to produce reliable statistics, Statistics Finland's basic data obtained for the compilation of statistics must be as exhaustive as possible. This can be achieved when the data suppliers can be confident that data concerning them will be treated appropriately taking data protection needs into account.
Processing and use of data
By law, Statistics Finland has the duty to use primarily data collected by other authorities. Data are collected from data providers directly when data are not available from elsewhere. Statistics Finland uses the data for the compilation of statistics. Data files derived from various sources are combined in statistics production.
Statistics Finland's data files
Statistics Finland has extensive rights to obtain personal data for the compilation of statistics from different authorities. Data are obtained from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Finnish Digital Agency), the Tax Administration, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland and the Finnish Centre for Pensions, for example. Data are also collected from employers that supply data concerning their employees’ pay and working time.
Statistics Finland also collects data direct from citizens on voluntary basis with interview surveys and inquiries. These are such as the Labour Force Survey, Leisure Survey and Time Use Survey.
Some of the data files held by Statistics Finland cover the entire population of Finland, some are sample data.
The Statistics Act requires that respondents' identification data, such as name and personal identification number, are not collected or stored unless it is necessary for the production of statistics. It is usually necessary when identification data are needed for combining the collected data with some other data.
When the respondent is other than an individual person, Statistics Finland approaches the enterprise and corporation based on data derived from other sources. When an enterprise or corporation responds to an inquiry, Statistics Finland stores information on the contact person, his/her name, work email address, work telephone number and occupational status.
More detailed information on Statistics Finland's data files and statistics can be found on Metadata pages.
Statistics Finland also collects data with interview surveys and inquiries on assignment of other organisations. More information on the Interview and survey services pages.
Release of data
According to the Statistics Act, Statistics Finland has the right to release confidential personal data for statistics compilation to another statistical authority, which are the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finnish Customs and the Natural Resources Institute Finland. Data are also released to the Statistical Office of the European Union, Eurostat.
Data collected for statistical purposes can be released for scientific research. Releasing is always done so that individuals cannot be directly identified from the data. A significant part of research data are used in Statistics Finland's remote access system, when the data are held by Statistics Finland and a researcher processes the data through remote access.
Confidential data may never be released for use in administrative decision-making, investigation, surveillance, legal proceedings or similar purposes.
Further information about research use of data is available on the research services’ microdata pages.
Statistics Finland's data security principles
Data are handled only by persons who need the data in their work. The use of data is restricted by usage rights. All persons employed by Statistics Finland have signed a pledge of secrecy, where they have obliged to keep secret the data prescribed as confidential by virtue of the Statistics Act or the Act on the Openness of Government Activities.
Researchers handling Statistics Finland's data also sign a pledge of secrecy.
The compilation of statistics is steered by the Statistics Act (280/2004). Alongside the Statistics Act, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation EU 2016/679 and the national Data Protection Act will be applied to the processing of personal data.
Confidentiality of data collected for statistical purposes is decreed in the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999).
In addition, statistics compilation is steered by the EU Regulation on European statistics and various statistics-specific regulations.
Appeal to supervision authorities
Data subjects have the right to appeal to supervision authorities if they have doubts about the lawfulness of the processing of their data.
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