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Public slams Finnish Transport Safety Agency for privacy breach

The Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) on Sunday shut down an online database where anyone could look up a motorist’s license information for free.

Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Trafi's database (siirryt toiseen palveluun) required nothing more than a name to pull up a person's driving information.

The Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) on Sunday said it had suspended the service while it investigates whether the tool infringes on people’s data privacy and security. The database went public last July.

”Our starting point is that the service is legal and that data privacy matters have been taken into consideration, but we also want to take critical feedback seriously,” Janne Huhtamäki of Trafi told Yle.

He said negative feedback began rolling in at the end of the summer.

”People don’t think it’s acceptable that their driving licenses are public,” he explained.

Under Finnish law, the agency must be able to provide information regarding professional drivers’ qualifications.

”Legislators have deemed this service necessary—car dealers need to check licenses ahead of test drives and car rental companies need to vet drivers,” Huhtamäki explained.