NSD and SSB has won confidentiality award for microdata.no

 by  Trond Pedersen

As one of two finalists in The Norwegian Data Protection Authority’s (DPA) competition for best built-in confidentiality, the solution developed by Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD) and Statistics Norway (SSB) won the first price.

DPA highlighted especially the World scale uniqueness of the data access solution that microdata.no offer the research environment. Microdata.no provides immediate access to registry data from SSB using a built-in confidentiality system.

Microdata.no was officially ready for use in May 2018 after five years of joint NSD and SSB development effort. This service provides researchers and students with easier access to registry data from SSB.

Norway has a well-developed and well-documented system for using data from public registers for statistical purposes. Such data are valuable and attractive as research data. However, due to confidentiality considerations, the process of applying for data has become very time- and cost-consuming. Norwegian research environments have long been asking for quicker and easier access to such data, and microdata.no is developed to meet such demands without formal application requirements.

From the committee’s justification:

“This contribution is regarded by the committee as unique in World scale. It will have significant importance and broad impact, and potential for further development to cover new research areas. By collecting gradually more and more data in our everyday digital society, the interest in such data for research purposes will continually increase.

Through the research infrastructure microdata.no, NSD and SSB have developed a new technology that removes the risk of individual disclosure that is assosiated with research using personal information. In addition, researchers will get quicker and far more affordable access to the data. Norway is the first country in the World to develop such an infrastructure.”

Click here for the DPA’s justification (Norwegian text)