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 results on the basis of said data. If authorisation is deemed to be appropriate, particular attention is paid to data protection issues. When granting a licence to use statistical data, the following principles and conditions are observed:
The licence applicant 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, authorisation 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, a new licence application must be filed. The circle of persons using the data must be indicated as specifically as possible in the application. The licencee is under obligation to ensure that other persons using the data are aware of, and comply with, the conditions governing authorisation for the use of statistical data.
In accordance with the stipulations in force, Statistics Finland's basic data may only be used for statistical and research purposes. The data may not be used for administrative, monitoring or other similar 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 whenever possible.
Licences are not be granted for materials covering data of the whole country (e.g. population census data) or a whole region (e.g. the entire population of a municipality). Authorisation to use complete data sets (e.g. persons that have completed a particular education) are generally granted only in exceptional cases (e.g. research purposes or data that is not sensitive).
According to the Statistics Act, Statistics Finland decides independently on all licences of use granted for its basic data.
When considering the granting of a licence, account is also taken of other data that the applicant already has at his/her disposal. If a licence is granted and the of data in the possession of Statistics Finland requires combining with other data, this compilation must take place at Statistics Finland. Statistics Finland shall remove all identification data from the combined material, in the manner specified below.
Identification data (from personal data mainly personal identity codes, names, addresses, dates of birth and any other pertinent data; and in the case of other statistical units, the identification data) shall be removed from the data for which a licence has been granted, or the data is made less specific or combined in order to prevent identification. The data to be removed or the manner of combination shall be indicated in the licence decision.
Identification data can be left intact when the applicant requests data on the cause of death using personal identification of a particular group of people. Data on age, gender, education and occupation may also be released with identification data if the applicant is entitled to collect such data by virtue of the Personal Data Act. An account of this must be included in the application. An additional requirement is that the release of the data in identifiable form is necessary with regard to the study.
The data may only be used for the purpose stated in the decision. The data shall also be treated as confidential, and they may not be turned over others without permission from Statistics Finland. All persons who will participate in handling of the data shall sign a pledge of secrecy.
The use 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 a pledge of secrecy. The
recommendation can be found at:
Authorisation to use statistical data is usually granted for a fixed period. Therefore, the licence application to use statistical data shall specify the estimated time of use of the data required for the purpose intended. In exceptional cases, the period may be left unspecified if it is impossible due to the purpose of use of the data and data protection aspects can be sufficiently taken into account by other means. The received data shall be returned to Statistics Finland within the period indicated in the decision. Any possible copies of the data obtained shall also be destroyed. Statistics Finland must be notified about their destruction.
A licence to use statistical data may be made conditional to apply only within the premises of Statistics Finland (e.g. complete data sets as mentioned above). The licencee may also be required to submit the survey or the research report to Statistics Finland prior to publication.
Licence application and pledge of secrecy on the forms page.
The person who, on behalf of Statistics Finland, serves as the contact person on issues relating to the release and use of statistical data is indicated in the licence decision.
The application for licence to use statistical data including
appendices must be addressed to the Registrar's Office of
Street address: Työpajankatu 13, 2nd floor, Helsinki
Postal address: FI-00022 Statistics Finland
Last updated 3.6.2013