Assigned by Privaon Oy, Taloustutkimus researched the reasons for downloading or not downloading the Koronavilkku app. The research focused on the reasons for downloading or not downloading the app and, in particular, on how much of an obstacle any fears about the handling of personal data created to the downloading of the app. At the same time, the research set out to establish how Finns protect themselves against the coronavirus and their general attitude towards the processing of personal data. Koronavilkku is a contact tracing app produced by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) to help you find out whether you may have been exposed to coronavirus.
“The Koronavilkku project has successfully achieved its objectives, without problems related to respect for privacy, which have occurred in many other countries. Data protection has been a central principle guiding the project from the start”, says Ville Sarja, CEO of Privaon Oy. Privaon Oy participated in conducting the statutory Data Protection Impact Assessment, DPIA, for the Koronavilkku app.
Two thirds of Finns consider their sense of civic duty and the recommendation of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) the most important reasons for their downloading of the Koronavilkku app. Other important reasons were a concern for their own health (16%) or the health of their family and friends (14%) and the app’s usefulness in preventing the spreading of the coronavirus (14%).
For respondents over the age of 65, the most important reason for downloading the app was THL’s recommendation (31%). For the under 65s, the most important reason was a sense of civic duty (34%). For the under 25s, the wish of their family members was highlighted (20%).
According to THL, the app has been downloaded about 2.3 million times. The research shows that the following demographic groups are prominent among the people who have downloaded the app:
The most important reason for not downloading Koronavilkku is that it is perceived to be unnecessary for the respondent (33%). Sixteen per cent of respondents are not able to download the app. Fourteen per cent of respondents do not have a suitable telephone at their use. Only 3% of the respondents state that concerns about the misuse of their personal data are the reason why they have not downloaded the app.
The perception of Koronavilkku’s unnecessity is the most common reason for not downloading it in almost all age groups. For over 65s, the most important reason for not downloading was the lack of a suitable phone or the skills to install the application. The share of respondents who have not had the time or energy to download the app, or had forgotten to do it, was the highest among respondents under 35 years of age. The 24–35-year-olds hoped for more information the most.
The number of downloads in proportion to population size has been a remarkable success already during the first month of the Koronavilkku project.
“Data protection and earning the trust of the citizens have been the primary principles guiding both the planning and implementation of the project. The results from the Taloustutkimus study show that data protection has had a significant impact on the popularity of Koronavilkku”, notes Jarkko Reittu, Data Protection Officer at THL.
The Koronavilkku project has succeeded in keeping the population’s concerns about the handling of personal data very modest. The population’s trust in the publisher of the Koronavilkku app and the app itself, as well as the perceived importance of preventing the spreading of the epidemic, has enabled about 2.2 million downloads in a short period of time. This is one of the most successful deployments of an app to stop infection chains of the coronavirus in terms of population coverage in the world.
The research was carried out by Taloustutkimus Oy as a telephone interview (n=1,001), whose target group consisted of 15–79-year-old persons in Finland, excluding the Åland Islands. The interviews were conducted during the period 14–22 September 2020.
Privaon is an expert organisation specialising in data protection. It provides its clients’ data protection units with data protection services based on its own software and knowhow.
Assigned by THL, Privaon participated in the Koronavilkku project by carrying out a data protection impact assessment focusing on privacy risks during July and August 2020.
The impact assessment of Koronavilkku also describes the handling of personal data, assesses the necessity and proportionality of personal data handling, as well as the risks arising from the handling of personal data and the measures required to manage the risks. The objective was to assess whether the remaining risk is justified and acceptable under the circumstances. Impact assessment helps the data controller to comply with the requirements of data protection legislation and to document and verify its compliance.
Privaon set out to study why people downloaded or failed to download Koronavilkku, whether the use of the app causes concerns related to the processing of personal data, what preparations Finns have made to protect themselves against the coronavirus and how they feel about the handling of personal data in general.
For more information about the research, please contact Privaon Oy’s CEO Ville Sarja at email@example.com or tel. +358 50 3030 573 or THL’s Data Protection Officer Jarkko Reittu, firstname.lastname@example.org , tel. +358 29 524 7474