Finland has incredibly good statistics.
Check out this. Why? Because you have to register absolutely everything with maistratti, Finland’s regional population register. When you register, you are given a
number. This number will rule your life
in Finland. It’s a medicare number and a
tax file number all rolled into one.

I was advised I needed to register for KELA,
the Finnish social insurance, the Finnish equivalent of Medicare.
Passport is irrelevant. Kela wanted my maistratti number. Then I went
to open a bank account. Passport is irrelevant. The bank wanted my
maistratti number. Then I started work. Passport is irrelevant. My
employer wanted my maistratti number.

Finnish tax returns are pre-printed. There’s your name and
address. Your wealth tax on the value of your apartment – the body
corporate uses your maistratti number to provide the details of your
apartment to the Vero (Finnish tax office). Your deductions for your
home loan – the bank uses your maistratti number to provide the details
of your home loan to the Vero. Your deductions for travelling to work –
the maistratti tells the Vero where you live, your employer uses your
maistratti number to tell the Vero where you work, and the Vero gives
you a deduction for the cheapest form of public transport to and from
work. It’s all there, already on the form. Finns say this is convenient.
Personally I find it kind of chilling.

But it’s not only official state-type bodies that want
your maistratti number. When you rent an apartment, subscribe for a mobile
phone, get the electricity connected, hire a moving van, apply for a supermarket
loyalty card, ask for a Helsinki library card.
Your maistratti number is your date of birth plus a few extra
numbers. So every time you give your
number to someone, not only are you giving away your star sign, you are also
giving away how old you are.

Why? Why do they
need your maistratti number? I can
understand why they need to know that you have a maistratti number – to prove
your name is your name and your address is your address, to prove you
exist. But they can do that by checking
your card, and moving on. They don’t
need to write it down, to keep it in their system.

Security? If I plant a bomb, will it help the police if they know that I
didn’t pay my last electricity bill and the titles of the last two books I
borrowed from the library? Is it likely
that a terrorist would ask for fly-buy points when he buys the ingredients for
his home made bomb? And it ignores the
fatal flaw in the system – the system critically depends and assumes that
everyone is telling the truth. People
ask for your number and you tell them your number – they rarely ever ask to see the card. When
you move house you tell maistratti your new address – they don’t ask to see a
contract of sale or a lease.

Read more on the website.