MyData in Finland — what will be done in the autumn of 2018

Mika Honkanen, MyData specialist, The Population Register Centre

The most valuable asset of the Finnish public administration is its manageable information. The value of the information in the registers of the public administration increases every day as the information society develops. The public administration has at least hundreds of data banks containing MyData from different perspectives and fields of people’s lives. The public administration has several unique data banks that are not available elsewhere. For example, the information contained in basic registers is fundamental information that is very reliable and therefore particularly valuable.

The Population Register Center will conduct a practical implementation of MyData together with the Finnish National Board of Education, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education and Culture in the autumn of 2018. Along with this work, the first version of the MyData reference architecture is written as a cross-administrative cooperation.

During the next few months, education data in the public administration register can be licensed human-centrically to companies. We will build a first version of the consent register, semantically unambiguous data models of education information and interfaces, which can reliably and human-centrically transfer student information through the consent of individuals to commercial companies — as the first country in the world.

In this respect, the practical aim is to get rid of a student’s everyday paper form work entirely and make the service experience much faster and easier digitally. For example, with one service process one would get a student card and travel discounts at the same time. In addition, the student may decide what information to give to anyone and he/she can see the use of their student information in real time. In the future, human-centric information management can be more widely applied to thousands of different public information systems and information resources of public administration.

The EU’s common data protection regulation (EU GDPR Article 6) defines six criteria for processing personal data: 1) consent, 2) contract, 3) statutory obligation, 4) protection of vital interests, 5) use of public authority, 6) legitimate interest of the data controller. Most of the processing of the public sector personal data is statutory (criterion 5).

The term MyData refers to the phenomenon as well as to the change of mindset in which personal data management becomes from organizational-oriented to human-centric. On the other hand, the term refers to personal information as a resource that people can use for themselves. Essential to MyData is that personal information is technically easy to use for the individuals, for the services and for the actors to whom a person wants to allow the utilization of his/her personal information. Personal information is any information related to an identified or identifiable person.

After 2018, the MyData infrastructure of the public administration can be further developed and it can be scaled a data bank at a time towards a national solution in several ways. This is a significant factor in the overall architecture and to everything that exists. For example, the consent management which is the hard core of the MyData can be incorporated into the Suomi.fi service family.

Existing opportunities to utilize of personal data contained in public administration registers are often very strictly limited by legislation. Personal information may not always be used even within the administration. From the point of view of optimizing the management’s overall operations, it is sensible to seek the possibility of using the personal information more widely in a controlled manner. At the same time, we can advance the information society significantly and, on the other hand, better implement the Ministry of Finance’s digitalisation principles “we open the knowledge and interfaces for the company and the citizens” and “we ask for new information only once”.

Mika Honkanen
MyData specialist
Joint Metadata and Information Management government key project
The Population Register Centre