Working group to update the personal identity code

Ministry of Finance 4.10.2017 12.45
Press release
Working group to update the personal identity code

The Ministry of Finance has appointed a working group to examine the ways to change the personal identity code and the management of the identity guaranteed by the State. The working group is to study how a person should be identified in the authorities’ information systems and how identity is connected to information concerning the person. As a result, the working group should give a proposal for a national operating model.

The term of the working group is 1 September 2017–31 December 2019. The steering group is chaired by Päivi Korpisaari, Professor of Media and Communication Law at the University of Helsinki.

The present ID code should be modernised

Now the personal identity code shows the person’s time of birth and gender, which is often unnecessary and may prevent wider utilisation of the code. In addition, because of the form and formulation rules for the personal identity code the number of personal identity codes available per date and gender is limited.

The present system has led to a situation where a significant share of persons staying or living in Finland on a temporary basis are left without an identifying code. The current conditions for the identification of a person do not allow a personal identity code to be granted to all foreign citizens moving to Finland or staying here for a certain time. This causes problems in the identification of persons between different systems and makes it possible for a person to have several identities in the registers of different authorities. This may cause difficulties for the persons, both when contacting the authorities and in the private sector.

The aim is a national model to identify persons

The working group is to give a proposal for a national operating model for the identification of persons in Finland and to describe the roles of different authorities in managing the core information relating to a person. The working group will examine the problems relating to the personal identity code as it is at present and find solutions to them, taking account of the opportunities offered by advanced technologies and international development for the identification of persons and identity management. Means are also sought for more effective prevention of identity thefts and promoting decentralised management and use of data in the registers, ways how individual persons could utilise the data concerning them, and information security of the means used to identify a person.

The working group should also prepare a draft for a Government proposal concerning the legislative amendments required by the new model.

Safer identity for wider use

A successful new model would enable the identification and authentication of a broader range of individuals in the Finnish society and make it easier for them to deal with the authorities and operate in the private sector. As an example, the use of electronic services provided by the authorities requires strong authentication of a person, based on an unambiguous code that identifies the person and the related information and enables the authority to verify the information. The new personal identity code would also promote the protection of privacy and personal data and streamline the management of the identity in the authorities’ information systems.

Inquiries:

Kimmo Mäkinen, Development Manager, tel. +358 29 553 0930, kimmo.makinen(at)vm.fi
Päivi Korpisaari, chair of the working group, Professor of Media and Communication Law, tel. +358 50 448 2617, paivi.korpisaari(at)helsinki.fi.