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Copyright and data protection in statistics


All the rights on the Statistics Service, including the copyrights, are owned by the Finnish Customs.

When referring to data in the service, the Finnish Customs shall be acknowledged as the source.

Data protection

Recommendation on data protection

The Advisory Board of Official Statistics of Finland has issued a recommendation on data protection. The recommendation applies to all the producers of the Official Statistics of Finland. These recommendations contain the most essential instructions based on law and recommendations based on the European Statistics Code of Practice approved by the European Commission.

Data protection at the Finnish Customs

Data protection is a fundamental principle of official statistics, the objective of which is to ensure the maintenance of the trust of data suppliers and the availability of reliable basic data. Attending to the protection of data is a prerequisite for the trust the Finnish Customs must have when collecting data. To be able to compile reliable statistics, the basic data of the Finnish Customs must be as reliable and exhaustive as possible. This can only be achieved if the data suppliers can be confident that data concerning them will be treated in an appropriate manner taking data protection needs into account.

Data protection requirements define the data that can be collected, how the data may be processed and in what form they may be published. The data protection rules applying to official statistics are contained in the Statistics Act, the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, the EU Regulation on Community Statistics and regarding the trade with countries outside the EU, also in the Customs Act.

The Finnish Customs has internal instructions on data security, and the Head of Data Security in Finnish Customs has the overall responsibility for the data security in Finnish Customs. The Finnish Customs has issued an instruction on the processing of sensitive statistical material on economy. All the persons participating in the production and publication of the statistics will sign a confidentiality commitment.

Confidentiality and disclosure of data

All data collected for statistical purposes are confidential. Confidentiality means that data must be protected against misuse at all stages of statistics production.

When data on international trade are published, so-called passive suppression is applied in accordance with the EU regulations on international trade statistics. Companies can request that data relating to trade are suppressed, in cases where company-specific data are recognisable in publications and this would harm their business. In statistics by economic activity and in some detailed statistics, however, active suppression is applied. (For more information of the suppression practice, see page Confidentiality of data)

The Finnish Customs may only release confidential data in a form from which individual units cannot be identified, and for scientific research or statistical surveys concerning social conditions only. Confidential data may never be released for administrative decision-making, investigation, control, legal proceedings or similar purposes.

When releasing data at unit level, a licence procedure is followed, where each release is considered separately. As a rule, the material will be released to the licensee via Statistics Finland's Research Laboratory. Before releasing the material, the Statistics of the Finnish Customs examines the grounds for the release and makes a decision on the release.

The applicant for a licence to use statistical data may be an official body, an institution or a person in charge of a study or an individual researcher. The licence is granted to a specific person or to specific persons. The group of persons using the data must be indicated as specifically as possible. The licensee is under obligation to ensure that persons not named in the licence do not participate in using the data.

The applicant for a licence shall specify, in sufficient detail, the purpose for which the statistical data are to be used, the material requested and the estimated time of use of the data. A research plan shall be attached to the application.

All identification data shall be removed from the material for which a licence has been granted, as well as any background data that enable partial identification, e.g. through knowledge of companies.

Release of data between statistical authorities

A statistical authority can release identification data to another statistical authority for the production of statistics in its sphere of authority, if the release of the identification data is necessary for the production of the statistics. The statistical authorities are the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Statistics Finland and the Finnish Customs.

An agreement is drawn up on the release of the data, describing the statistical material that will be released and the variables, the release schedules and the quality of the data that will be released. The release requires that a decision on the licence to use statistical data has been made. Forwarding of the material is prohibited without the permission of the Finnish Customs.