Open Data Policy in the Finnish Government

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1 Memorandum VM040:00/ / / (11) Public Sector ICT Ministry of Finance Anne Kauhanen-Simanainen Margit Suurhasko Mikael Vakkari Open Data Policy in the Finnish Government Information resources have been opened diversely in Finland from geodata to weather, climate, sea, transport, financial, statistical and cultural data. Led by the Ministry of Finance, the goal of the National Open data Programme 17 May 2013 to 30 June 2015 was promoting the opening of public information resources, eliminating obstacles to the re-use of public data as well as creating the preconditions for utilising open data in the public administration. The Open data policy for covers the proposals of the programme for the key goals and actions in the field of open data in the public administration in Finland. This policy shall be put into action by ministries in their respective administrative branches, agencies and local authorities. The ministry of Finance is one of the key ministries leading these actions and ministries negotiate each year with the Ministry of Finance during the budget proposals in order to secure centralised funding for opening data within their respective administrative branches The Government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä was appointed on 29th May One central theme of the current government s strategic programme is digitalisation. The new government programme also highlights the re-use of open data in the private sector as one of the driving forces for creating new business and jobs. https://valtioneuvosto.fi/documents/10184/ /hallitusohjelma_ _final_ EN.pdf/f1071fa e-a bb38-97bdfd324ee6 - see p.26 The open data goals and action proposals will be discussed and brought to the digitalization strategy and the digitalization processes of the Finnish Government in One of the key points will be the utilisation of the open data resources and combining them with current and new services through service experiments supported by the government. Additionally, new data resources will be opened as the goal is to have most of the significant public information resources that can be (legally) opened available for free use in Also a government follow-up on the preliminary study on the impacts of open data in the public sector will be conducted. Valtiovarainministeriö Puh (vaihde) Snellmaninkatu 1 A, Helsinki Faksi PL 28, Valtioneuvosto i i Y-tunnus

2 2 (11) Open data as a basis for the digital economy, public services, real time data and evidence based decision-making Open data: a summary of key goals and actions during The key goals are opening and utilising public sector information resources and enhancing information skills As a follow-up to the Finnish Open Data Programme , the utilisation of public sector information resources will be improved through the following actions, with the goal of boosting public sector productivity and using information effectively in the decision making processes and in society: 1) Continuing support for the systematic opening up of information resources to ensure all significant public information resources are available to society as a whole by the end of the decade, in machine-readable format, free of charge and under clear terms of use. 2) Plan a common model for the production, management and services of key basic information resources. The objective is to make basic information resources available free of charge to public authorities, ensure efficient and speedy flow of information between local and central government, and utilise information widely in society, taking the limitations of legislation into account. 3) Enhance data and information skills by establishing a cross-sectoral national data and information skills programme in co-operation with the ministry of Education and Culture and the higher education istitutions. Diverse skills in the production, dissemination, opening up, analysis and utilisation of data and information are required to operate and prosper in the digital data and information environment.

3 3 (11) Open data: key goals and actions for the period The Finnish Open Data Programme finished in the summer The following key goals relate to the post-programme period, when responsibility for the coordination of opening up of information in the public sector and promoting the utilisation of opened information resources will lie with the Public Sector ICT unit of the Ministry of Finance. Open data as part of a unified information policy open data as a basis for the digital economy, public services, real-time data and evidence based decisionmaking Open data is seen as one of the key prerequisites for the digital economy, innovative public services and transparent and effective governance. Open data is a raw material for digital services and smooth-running service processes. A datadriven economy means efficient utilisation of data and information in local and central government, businesses, science, education and all of society. The aim is to increase the productivity and effectiveness of data and to add value to data that already exists. Open data is an absolute prerequisite for local and central government steering and operational transparency. Openness of data strengthens democracy through empowerment and creates conditions for civic engagement as well as enhancing the accountability requirements of the government through transparency. The principles of open science and research will benefit society extensively. During the government s development emphasis will shift from the opening up of information resources to utilising the data and enhancing information and data skills within the whole public sector. The opening up and utilisation of information resources and the enhancement of information and data skills should be taken into account when formulating a unified national data policy and drafting legislation based on it. Heavy focus on the utilisation of data will also form the basis of the follow-up study on the impacts of open data in the public sector. Opening up of information resources applies only to public information

4 4 (11)

5 5 (11) Open data: description of current situation, key goal, and actions by theme 1. Theme Opening up of data Description of current situation Even after opening up extensive information resources, the Finnish public sector still has a lot of data that should be open in order to benefit various actors in society and for Finland to fulfil the goals of the PSI directive. Opening up information resources, taking (information) user s needs into account, and monitoring the effectiveness of opening are not yet part of the everyday activity of the Finnish public authorities and will be one of the focus areas during Key goal The opening up of key basic information resources (Transport Safety Agency, Patent and Registration office, Population Information System, Land Information System) still requires permanent additional financing of around EUR million in the central government budget. These information resources contain personal data, which makes the opening up of these resources rather challenging. All significant public information resources are widely available to the society as a whole by the end of the decade in machine-readable format, free of charge and under clear terms of use. Actions 1. Integrate steering, responsibilities and resourcing for the opening up of information resources into the management and steering responsibilities of ministries, agencies and local authorities through yearly budget proposal process (already implemented within the governmental sector but not in the municipalities). 2. Support the process of opening up information resources and the adoption of integrated operating practices in ministries, agencies and local authorities (under development). 3. Promote research on and monitoring of the effectiveness of opening up information resources (study underway). 4. Identify new anonymisation techniques for information resources, and actively and systematically monitor the effectiveness of opening up information resources. Responsible authority Ministry of Finance, ministries in their respective administrative branches, agencies and local authorities Other actors and partners Public sector decision-makers, developers, experts Developer communities Users and beneficiaries of open information resources Key projects Open Government Project, National Service Data Architecture, Metadata Portal, Six City Project, Open

6 6 (11) Legislative development needs Science and Research Project Reform of information management legislation (applies to Act on the Openness of Government Activities, Archives Act and Information Management Act). Inclusion of re-use of data in Act on the Openness of Government Activities. Main international links OECD Open Government Data, EU PSI-share 2.0, Open Government Partnership (via Open Government Project) 2. Theme Utilisation of data Description of current situation Key goal Public information resources are not yet fully utilised and their impacts are not known. In addition to the opening up of various types of information resources, centralised support for the utilisation and experimentation with open data resources and extensive research on the use and combination of data from the perspective of users and decision-making is required. The diverse and broad-minded utilisation, combination and further development of open data takes place in active interaction with developer communities and governmentally funded development labs, thereby increasing the productivity and effectiveness of services utilising the data and information in society. The national data portal, Avoindata.fi, and the governmental service development laboratory JulkICT Lab are centrally funded and have been developed to support the users in utilising open data and implementing interoperability as well as founding an open-minded user / developer base withing the public administration willing to experiment and create new work processes and methodology for digitalisation of services. Actions 5. Improve the availability, awareness and use of open information resources. 6. Create conditions and practices for the technical interoperability of open information resources and for interoperable common processes. 7. Plan a common model for the production, management and services of key basic information resources, and ensure their technical availability free of charge to public authorities and extensively throughout society, taking legislative restrictions into account. Analyse and assess the opportunities, costs and impacts of implementing basic information resources free of charge. 8. Develop Avoindata.fi and JulkICTLab into a single operational entity through

7 7 (11) which open information resources, support and development and interoperability methodology are available and can be easily utilised with service development and experimentation.. This entity shall alsosupport users in opening data and promote the development of services utilising open data through agile methodology. Responsible authority Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, ministries in their respective administrative branches, agencies and local authorities Other actors and partners Public sector decision-makers, developers, experts Developer communities Users and beneficiaries of open information resources Key projects Legislative development needs Main international links Local Government Information Programme, National Service Architecture, JulkICT Lab, projects relating to long-term storage of data Reform of information management legislation ISA (Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations), see also international links of theme Theme Enhancing data and information skills Description of current situation Key goal Diverse skills in the production, dissemination, opening, analysis and utilisation of data and information are required to operate and prosper in the digital environment. Source criticism and awareness of transparency are required, as is training concerning data protection, information security, information management, metadata and big data. Managing and handling one s own information is becoming a key civic skill. Finland s civil servants also need information and data skills. Expertise and lifelong learning are needed in both work and leisure activities. Information and data skills provide new opportunities for civic activism and economic activity and for developing governance. Information and data skills permeate the whole of society, including both citizens and authorities. Actions 9. Survey the public sector s data and information skills needs and set measurable targets. 10. Promote enhanced data analysis and processing expertise in ministries, agencies and local authorities. 11. Launch a national open data skills programme based on the above-mentioned survey work in co-operation with the ministry of Education and culture and the higher education institutions. Responsible authority Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Finance, ministries in their respective administrative

8 8 (11) Other actors and partners Key projects Legislative development needs Main international links branches, agencies and local authorities Public sector decision-makers, developers, experts Developer communities Users and beneficiaries of open information resources Open Science and Research Project EU tangential projects

9 9 (11) Conclusion The Open Data programme of the Ministry of Finance was successfully implemented during and most of the goals were achieved. The programme raised the awareness of the Finnish public administration on the role of open data as a tool for implementing transparency in the public administration and significance of the of open information resources in service development, experimentation and as one key element in innovations. The programme also supported the opening of key information resources and the process of opening public information resources has been implemented as part of the budget process of the finnish government. This means the opening of data resources is now part of the yearly government expenditure planning process and also centrally coordinated by the Ministry of Finance, responsible for coordinating the overall budget process of the Finnish government. The ministry of Finance also allocates funding for the opening of information resources as part of the expenditure planning process according to the proposals of ministries coordinating their respective sectors. This process firmly attaches the opening of data to the normal yearly planning process of the Finnish government and can be considered to be one of the most successfully carried out implementations of the programme. Some issues remain however. The programme has been criticised for not being able to fully realise the expected amount of new open data resources. The programme probably could have achieved better results and more open public information repositories had more funds and focus been allocated in the actual opening of information resources but during the programme it become quite clear the key issue was to make the opening of information resources part of the normal yearly government expenditure planning cycle in order to facilitate long term support for the opening of data in the Finnish public administration. The long term plan of having most of the significant public information resources open by 2020 was seen as requiring a firm and planned methodology in order to be successful.. Main focus of the Finnish government during will be the utilisation of data. This costs both impact assessment of open data resources, centrally funded development projects aimed at connecting the open data resources, developer communities and public service development projects in order to facilitate new approaches to public service development.

10 10 (11) OPEN DATA CONCEPTS basic information resource big data data set information resource innovative services machine-readability Basic information resources are both the national base registers required by law and other key national-level information resources. By national base register is meant a centralised information system in which key information about the basic units of society, such as people and property, is collected comprehensively and as accurately as possible. The maintenance of such registers is required by law. In Finland, the national base registers include the Population Register System (PRS), the Land Information System (LIS) and the Business Information System (BIS). Basic information resource is therefore a wider concept than national base register. Big data is the term for data sets which are large, which rapidly expand and which are variable in form. Big data is difficult to process with traditional data processing applications. Devices and applications require enormous storage capacity and performance to be capable of processing big data. Big data is collected, stored and analysed with the aim of locating valuable information. Big data can be used, for example, in scientific research, product development, marketing and decision-making. For example, an online retailer can analyse the activity of large numbers of users and recommend on the basis of this information suitable products for users of the service. An identifiable collection of information A logical collection of information resources Services that utilise the information and expertise commercially or socially in a new way A property that supports the mechanical identification, recognition and collection of data official information open data Information collected or compiled by a public authority for its official duties. Data reusable by anyone, free of charge, with permission (and/or licence) and in machine-readable format.

11 11 (11) open information Open data can be freely enhanced, recycled and combined further in different applications. For example, Statistics Finland s population statistics, the Finnish Meteorological Institute s weather and radar observations, and the National Land Survey of Finland s topographic databases are open data. Information reusable by anyone in different ways, legally and free of charge opening up of information resources reuse of data Opening up of information resources means the offering of public data in machinereadable format freely available for reuse. Opening up of information resources for reuse does not apply to confidential data nor to data whose use is restricted by law. Restricted access to information resources may be granted to groups such as researchers or other authorities, in which case this is not open data in the true sense of the term. Restricted data can be anonymised in order to open it and remove the restrictions but advanced data mining techniques and algorithmas could prove to be a risk to the public sector whose responsibility is the safeguarding of the individuals privacy as required by the national legislation. Reuse of data means the use by natural persons or legal entities of documents held by public sector bodies, for commercial or non-commercial purposes other than the initial purpose within the public task for which the documents were produced (EU Directive 2003/98/EC). In practice, reuse of data may be, for example, combining data with other data content or other forms of content or the creation of completely new services based on the data.

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