No access to personal data in Statistics Norway

Under the provisions of the Personal Data Act, there is no entitlement for you to know what information is registered on you with Statistics Norway.

Statistics Norway’s data is not used to make decisions that directly affect the individual; it is only used to create statistical tables where it is not possible to extract data on individuals.

If you are registered with a data controller (as defined in the Personal Data Act), you are normally entitled to know what data is held on you (Section 18 of the Personal Data Act). However, the Act makes an exemption for such access if the personal data is solely to be used for statistical purposes and the processing of the data will not have any direct impact on the data subject.

Processing of personal data in Statistics Norway

Statistics Norway carries out two different types of personal data processing within the parameters of the Statistics Act:

  1. Developing, producing and disseminating official statistics
  2. Research and analysis

The data controller in Statistics Norway is the Director General. The day-to-day responsibility for the data controller’s duties lies with Statistics Norway’s security adviser and the relevant division head.

Data processed in Statistics Norway is placed in one of three categories:

  • Data sourced directly from the data subject via a questionnaire, typically data on behaviour and attitudes to key social issues.
  • Data from businesses, e.g. details from employers on employees and customers etc.
  • Data retrieved from administrative systems in public administration, e.g. from the tax authorities (income), NAV (benefits/employment), the education authorities (education) and the population register.

No personal data in Statistics Norway’s statistics

Statistics Norway produces, supplies and publishes statistics that do not contain personal data. The Statistics Act also provides for Statistics Norway to give public bodies and researchers access to data for use in statistics, analyses and research. The data we share is deidentified or anonymised. Where the data is collected with the respondent’s consent (voluntary survey), consent will always be sought during the data collection process for all data processing, and respondents will be informed of whether the data will be forwarded to other parties, who these parties are, and in what form the data will be supplied and for what purpose.

Information is provided prior to all personal surveys

Prior to all surveys where Statistics Norway collects the data directly from private individuals, respondents will receive details about the survey.

Respondents will be informed of the name and purpose of the survey, as well as what topics will be covered, how the survey will be carried out and how long it will take, for how long and in what form the data will be stored and whether the data will be shared with other parties. Where respondents’ answers are to be linked with other register data we have access to, we will provide details of what the links will entail. Information is also given on your right to opt out of the survey and to withdraw from the survey at any time during the interview or subsequently, and demand that the answers you provided in the survey be deleted.

The processing of personal data for the purposes of producing official statistics and research/analysis is warranted under the Statistics Act, and in cases where we collect data from other sources (typically other public administrative bodies), the data subject will not be informed of this.

Interviewing children and adolescents

Children under 15 years of age who are to be interviewed will be contacted through their parents/guardian. Persons aged 15-17 will be contacted directly but information will be sent to their parents/guardian, who will then have the opportunity to decline.

Personal profiles in Statistics Norway

When Statistics Norway conducts personal surveys, a random sample of people is normally drawn from the population register.

The sample is based on statistical criteria relating to gender, age and place of residence to ensure that those who are selected are representative of the Norwegian population.

If the sample is also based on other types of background information (e.g. education and income), information on this is provided for the relevant survey.

Incorrect data is corrected

It is in Statistics Norway’s best interests for all data used in statistics to be correct. Extensive quality assurance checks are therefore performed on the data.

The purpose of collecting personal data is to compile official statistics, i.e. information on groups of persons and not details of identifiable individuals – data on individuals in isolation is not relevant. Where incorrect information is registered on an individual, this will only have a bearing on the data processing itself and not on the individual. In the event that Statistics Norway identifies an error in the data, however, this will always be rectified in order to ensure that the statistics source is as accurate as possible.

Personal data is encrypted and stored for future use or deleted

Data that is no longer needed to produce statistics is deleted or sent to the National Archives of Norway pursuant to the Archives Act.

Personal data is normally stored for future use in order to enable Statistics Norway to create coherent statistics and to compare different areas of interest over long periods of time. Names and addresses are normally deleted and personal ID numbers are replaced by an encrypted ID number (pseudonym) in such data in order to protect the identity of individuals. Encrypting the ID numbers means that data can be linked without the identity of the individual being revealed to staff producing the statistics.

Data from isolated surveys and/or where it is not necessary to store personal data for statistical purposes is deleted, anonymised or sent to the National Archives of Norway after use.

In the case of voluntary surveys, it is the registered party’s consent that determines how long and in what form the data is stored. Where the data will not be deleted/anonymised immediately after the survey is completed, this will be clearly conveyed in the information that the respondents receive and consent to prior to the survey.

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