A man with a child in front of a portable.

Helsinki in co-operation with the World Economic Forum (WEF) - Mayor Vartiainen presents the first results of a project related to personal data

It is currently being investigated whether it would be possible to establish an affiliate office of WEF's Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in Helsinki. The office would focus on promoting international data policy and economics. This would be the first C4IR office in the EU.

Preparations for the project began in Finland and Helsinki in February 2020. In addition to the state administration and cities, representatives of research and business have been involved in the work of the national project group. The Ministry of Transport and Communications is responsible for coordinating the project.

The first partnership period provided additional information on the utilisation and processing of personal data


The City of Helsinki has been responsible for the first Fellowship period related to the cooperation, during which a temporary expert hired by the city worked at the C4IR Centre in San Francisco. The period from June 2020 to September 2021 was the first step in setting up a potential partnership office.

During the period, an international group of experts assembled for the project wrote a publication that takes a stand on the importance and possibilities of utilising human-oriented data from different perspectives. In addition, the City of Helsinki started a data analytics trial during the period, within the framework of which a technical environment enabling the processing of personal data and an anonymisation process was built. This trial will continue and will be completed by the end of 2021.

The closing event for the first Fellowship period is 8 September 2021. Mayor Juhana Vartiainen has been invited to give an opening speech.

Helsinki aims to be at the forefront of the utilisation of digitalisation in the world. To support this aim, we require both national and international cooperation to improve data use - the C4IR project is an excellent example of this. In particular, we must recognize the importance of ethically used individual data and take advantage of the opportunities associated with it, says Mayor Vartiainen.

The event will be chaired by Sheila Warren, Deputy Director of C4IR, and the closing remarks will be given by Timo Harakka, Minister of Transport and Communications. The program also includes a panel discussion to which Jan Vapaavuori, the former mayor of Helsinki, who has strongly contributed to the promotion of the project on behalf of Finland, has been invited.

The progress of the project requires a second partnership period and business cooperation


In order to meet the conditions for setting up a C4IR office, local companies must also be involved in the project and its financing. As a result, the project will now be continued with a second one-year Fellowship period, which would be implemented in cooperation with Finnish companies.

The final publication of the project online at about 17:00 on September 8 2021:
Empowered Data Societies: A Human-Centric Approach to Data Relationships

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Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Final publication: Empowered Data Societies: A Human-Centric Approach to Data Relationships

Photo: Jussi Hellsten