Helsinki aims to use personal data on citizens’ terms

The City of Helsinki, Finland, aims to offer its citizens the possibility to better manage the personal information the city gathers from them. At the same time, the city is developing data-based city services that are timely and even predictive.

Trust

Helsinki has high ambitions for utilising digitalisation. In the process, Helsinki is creating digital services, called MyData services, together with the citizens. These services are based on the life situations of individuals.
“Trust is in the essence of data usage: the citizens need to be to trust that the city is using data on their behalf and with their consent so that it benefits both, the citizens and the city. This is what MyData is basically about”, says the Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori.

Human-centric

MyData services give citizens a way to control and better understand the information that is gathered from them. According to MyData principles, Helsinki aims to enable citizens to influence the way the city is using data gathered from them. In order to build human-centric services that originate from the citizens’ needs, it is essential to understand and analyze the societal structures, legislation, and the everyday reality of the citizens.

Citizen data

Helsinki holds various types of citizen data which is gathered, for example, from services the citizens use. Helsinki wants to be clear about the data that is gathered, what data is collected and what it is used for. In addition, an individual can affect if his or her data is shared between different services inside the city or between organizations, for example, for another city. The same principle allows the individual to deny the use of their data. This is all, by the way, required by European law, like the GDPR. Helsinki now aims to give citizens a way to control all this.

MyData association

Decentralization of information ensures that the information is not stored in a big mass in one place. This decreases the temptation for information breaches. The city of Helsinki wants to ensure a high level of information security by developing the solution with different organizations and vendors in information security. Helsinki joined the international MyData Global association in January 2021. By participating in MyData Global activities, Helsinki aims to influence the development and implementation of MyData principles into the digital services in cities, in Finland and in the EU.

Written by: editors Smart City Hub.

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