Summary of opinions
Redesign of the personal identity code system receives support – preparation of a government proposal continues
The redesign of the personal identity code system is seen as necessary and important. Measures that broaden the eligibility of foreign nationals for personal identity codes received particular support. However, the tight schedule for the redesign, the changes it will require to data systems and its costs gave rise to concerns.
This is evident in the opinions received, which concern the draft bills on the redesign of the personal identity code system. The consultation period was January–March, and the Ministry of Finance received a total of 123 opinions from authorities, organisations, companies and citizens.
The redesigned system will make it possible to issue personal identity codes to foreign nationals more widely and at an earlier stage than currently possible, will enable electronic remote registration in the Population Information System and will create an entirely new identification code alongside the personal identity code. It is also proposed that information on gender be removed from personal identity codes to make them gender neutral. A total redesign of the personal identity code system had been previously proposed, but this was not considered feasible due to factors such as high costs.
Remote registration of foreign nationals and gender-neutral personal identity codes seen as beneficial
The commenters were of the opinion that it would be useful to enable remote registration of foreign nationals in the Population Information System and to broaden eligibility for personal identity codes. This would enable foreign nationals to conduct their affairs more quickly and support integration. In organisations, it would reduce the need for separate identification codes for individuals and, thus, the manual work related to such codes. One risk that was brought up was the reliability and technical data security of the remote registration procedure.
The majority of parties who submitted opinions felt that making personal identity codes gender neutral is a goal worth supporting. This change would, for example, prevent discrimination based on gender identity and improve the protection of privacy. However, commenters criticised the cost of a gender-neutral personal identity code system in relation to its benefits.
New identification code divides opinions
The opinions submitted on the proposed new identification code were divided. The identification code would be added to the population information system for each person with a Finnish personal identity code. It would not contain personal data, which was a feature that received support in the submitted opinions. The new identification code was also considered to improve data protection and the protection of individuals’ privacy.
According to the draft bill, the new identification code would provide various organisations the opportunity to use another code alongside the personal identity code should they so wish. Some of the parties that submitted opinions were of the opinion that the benefits of introducing the new identification code are unclear and the justifications for doing so are weak. The opinions also raised concerns about the costs of introducing the new identification code. In the reform, costs will be managed by making the introduction of the new identification code voluntary for organisations.
Next, the preparation of the government proposal will be continued based on the comments received. The proposal is due to be submitted to Parliament in autumn 2022. The changes are intended to enter into force at the beginning of 2023 with the exception of the gender-neutral personal identity code system, which would enter into force at the beginning of 2027. The information steering and stakeholder cooperation plan for personal identification codes and the memorandum on changing personal identity codes were on consultation rounds at the same time as the draft bills.
Jarkko Levasma, Government Chief Information Officer, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 295 530 117, jarkko.levasma(at)gov.fi
Henriikka Tammes, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 295 160 939, henriikka.tammes(at)gov.fi