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Report: New EU data directive won’t prevent Finnish agencies from selling personal data

Last year, Finland's Population Register Centre sold residents' personal data to the tune of 10.5 million euros, according to Lännen Media.

Tietokone serveri.
The data of millions of Finnish residents is sold by state agencies to firms both public and private. File photo of computer servers. Image: AOP

An updated EU directive on the protection of citizens' personal data set to go into effect next month will not prevent Finnish agencies from selling personal data to online advertisers and other firms, according to news outlet Lännen Media.

In other words, even after the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect, unless people specifically request that they stop, Finnish agencies will likely continue to sell their data, according to the paper.

State agencies, including the traffic safety agency Trafi and the Population Register Centre, sell individuals' personal data — sometimes including their personal identity numbers, the paper reported on Monday.

Trafi pulled in about two million euros in 2017 by selling such information to entities within both the public and private sectors, according to LM. Trafi sells personal information to third parties such as car dealerships, inspection service firms and to the telephone directory service Fonecta.

In some cases such information is later re-sold by firms, according to the Population Register Centre.

The Population Register Centre sells information to entities such as banks, collection agencies and firms like Fonecta and Finnish smart-data firm Bisnode Marketing.

Opt-out available

Residents who do not want their information to be shared are able to opt out, LM writes.

Trafi has a page in English explaining how to request that the agency stop sharing personal information.

The population centre also provides a way for people to block the distribution of their personal details. The agency states that "everyone has a right to forbid the disclosure of their personal information by the Population Information System."

"Disclosure can be forbidden with the help of a chip ID card or Internet Bank access codes at the Population Register Centre's 'Check Your Registered Data!' service or by phone or via a letter addressed to Local Register Office," the agency writes on its webpage.

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