Data protection and research ethics

The Finnish Constitution states that the right to privacy is a basic right. Everyone has a right to know and have control over what information is collected about him or her and for what purpose and how it is used. On the other hand the Finnish welfare system and the use of the unified personal identification codes have led to a large number of administrative data that have been found to be very useful for research purposes that benefit society as a whole.

The Finnish legislation on data protection is internationally relatively permissive and allows the use of administrative data for scientific, historical and statistical research purposes. However, the legislation sets strict provisions on what kind of research is appropriate and appoints enforcing authorities to make sure that individual rights are not violated when administrative data sources are exploited for research. In Finland the enforcing authority is the Data Protection Ombudsman.

The Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman has published a guide on the Transfer of personal data to a foreign country according to the Personal Data Act.


Research ethics

The National Advisory Board on Research Ethics gives guidelines on research ethics, e.g., good scientific practices and procedures for handling misconduct and fraud in science.


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