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The Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman is valued for its expertise and reliability, room for improvement seen in customer orientation

Publication date 26.5.2021 9.59 | Published in English on 28.5.2021 at 15.10
Press release

The Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman commissioned a survey to chart the views of stakeholders and citizens on its operations and reputation. The results show that stakeholders consider cooperation with the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman to be valuable and would like to increase their interaction with the Office. The data protection authority is fairly well known by the public. Citizens are interested in data protection issues, but the information could be easier to understand.

Stakeholders praised expertise, wanted clear statements and guidelines

The majority (60%) of the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman's stakeholders were satisfied with their dealings with the Office. Around one in five respondents was dissatisfied. Specific improvements requested by the respondents were clearer services and communications, further development of online services and shorter response times.

The majority (67%) of respondents thought that the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman had a good reputation. Only a tenth of respondents considered the Office's reputation to be poor. Information on specific aspects of the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman's reputation was obtained by asking the respondents to rate a set of attributes. The Office was thought to be expert, reliable and fairly influential. On the contrary, room for improvement was seen in openness, intelligibility and customer orientation.

Stakeholder representatives were also asked about their information needs. They wanted timely and understandable statements on questions of data protection, guidance and a visible role in public debate from the authority.

Finally, respondents were asked to rate how well the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman had achieved its social impact goals. The respondents thought that general awareness of data protection rights and obligations in particular had improved and trust and openness in privacy matters had increased.

Citizens feel that the data protection authority’s work is important, awareness still needs improvement

The majority (87%) of citizens who took the survey felt that they were well or reasonably well aware of their data protection rights, and the majority (76%) were also interested in questions of data protection. Nearly all of the respondents (95%) thought it important that Finland has an authority tasked with monitoring compliance with data protection legislation and serving citizens in data protection issues. 

The responses showed that awareness of the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman is at a reasonable level, but still requires work. The majority (65%) of respondents had at least heard of the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman, but only a third (36%) were able to say which authority could help them in matters of data protection.

Like the stakeholders, citizens too felt the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman to be an expert and reliable agency. The citizens also highlighted the same areas for improvement as the stakeholders. They also expressed a wish for clearer discussion of data protection: citizens are hungry for information on matters of data protection, but the public discussion on the subject is often too difficult to understand.

Results will be used to improve operations

From the surveys, the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman gained valuable information on the success of its work with stakeholders, as well as on its communications and the achievement of its social impact goals. The results will be used in the Office's upcoming strategy update. We will endeavour to address the improvement areas and wishes highlighted in the surveys in our new strategy.

The target audience for the stakeholder survey consisted of experts and directors employed by ministries, agencies, Parliament, overseers of legality, hospital districts, organisations, unions and institutes of higher education, or serving in steering groups and working parties. The survey was also taken by the data protection officers of companies, public organisations, NGOs and educational institutes. The response rate was approximately 35%. The citizens’ survey was taken by around 1,000 adult residents of mainland Finland. The surveys were carried out by Aula Research Oy.

Further information:

Data Protection Ombudsman Anu Talus, anu.talus(at), tel. +358 29 566 6766

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