Privacy / GDPR

Table of Contents

    About Statbel

    Statbel (Directorate-General Statistics – Statistics Belgium) is the Belgian statistical office. Statbel is commissioned to produce official statistics on Belgium.  This is done under the responsibility of Nico Waeyaert, director-general of Statbel.

    On weekdays, you can contact Statbel:

    Use of databases where possible

    In order to produce its statistics, Statbel uses the existing administrative databases as much as possible. It is sometimes necessary to collect information via surveys. Statbel has a legal mandate to receive administrative databases and to organise surveys.

    This is an overview of the administrative databases used by Statbel:

    • The National Register of the FPS Home Affairs.
    • Databases with the diplomas and certificates obtained delivered by the education departments of the various communities and the Military Academy.
    • Data on employment and pensions from the Crossroads Bank for Social Security.
    • The Land Register from the FPS Finances with information about dwellings.
    • Data on enterprises from the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises.
    • Fiscal data from the FPS Finances.
    • DmfA declarations (with data about hours worked) from the FPS Social Security.

    Data from administrative databases are used for various purposes.

    • Statbel couples the various databases to produce its statistics.
    • Statbel draws samples from the databases, for surveys amongst citizens and enterprises.
    • Statbel adds information from databases to surveys carried out. This way, Statbel can make the questionnaires shorter and reduce the response burden to surveys both for the population and the enterprises.
    • Statbel improves the quality of its statistics by also including the information from administrative databases into statistical models. These models are used to draw samples or to calibrate the results that are based on samples.

    Statbel is not responsible for the correctness of the administrative data that it receives and may not, in the framework of statistical confidentiality, inform data providers of possible errors.

    Your data are protected by statistical confidentiality

    All the information collected by Statbel about individuals is protected by statistical confidentiality. These data are only used for statistical and scientific purposes. Consequently, sharing data with Statbel will never lead to administrative consequences. In order to secure statistical confidentiality, all staff members and all surveyors contracted by Statbel have signed a declaration, in which they confirm that they are aware of the obligations arising from statistical confidentiality and that they will comply with this statistical confidentiality.

    Anonymous statistics

    Besides statistical confidentiality, only the employees who organise surveys, or who couple administrative databases, have access to data that can identify a person (such as the national register number, name, address). In the databases of all other employees, the data are anonymised (pseudonymised) so that they cannot know excatly which person is involved.

    Shared data

    Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union), scientific institutions and research departments of public services can request certain data from Statbel. If Statbel shares information, it is done in such a way that it will be impossible for the person who requested the data to find out who has answered what in a survey. Moreover, Statbel imposes the condition that the information can only be used for statistical or scientific purposes. A contract also stipulates that the data cannot be passed on and that the information must be destroyed after the research.

    Statistical authorities

    The statistical offices of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, within the framework of the Interfederal Statistical Institute, as well as the statistics departments of the National Bank of Belgium and the Federal Planning Bureau can also, from a legal perspective, receive non-anonymous data. This is an exception in the data exchange. However, there is one condition: that the information is necessary to fulfill their legal mandate, the production of statistics.

    Privacy is guaranteed

    Statbel collects information for statistical and scientific purposes only, watches over statistical confidentiality and makes every effort in its organisation to protect information as much as possible. This guarantees the privacy of citizens.

    Statistics should also be produced in a correct and efficient manner. Therefore, some of the rights you have to protect your privacy are not applicable.

    • You can only look in, modify or erase the information collected via surveys as long as the data collection phase is not closed. The files are then anonymised (pseudonymised) and statistics are produced and published.
    • Administrative data collected by Statbel via databases are immediately anonymised (pseudonymised). Statbel is prepared to give access to administrative data only if an express and motivated request provides substantiated reasons.
    • Statbel is prepared to inform citizens about the kind of administrative data that it has at its disposal. Statbel will also inform the citizen about the administrative data provider where he can assert his rights. Indeed, it is best to correct errors in data at the source. Naturally, Statbel will then use the corrected data.
    • You cannot ask Statbel to erase administrative data or impose restrictions on data processing. Statbel has a legal mandate to use administrative and survey data. Only this way will Statbel be able to produce correct and stable statistics for the whole population.
    • You cannot ask Statbel to forward information to another organisation, given that Statbel is bound by statistical confidentiality.

    Complaint or further questions about your privacy

    If you think that the information collected by Statbel for statistical purposes has been used for other purposes, you can file a complaint with the data protection officer of the FPS Economy: dpo@economie.fgov.be.

    You can also file a complaint with the Data Protection Authority: www.dataprotectionauthority.be

    Should you have further questions about your privacy, you can contact us at: 0800 120 33 or statbel@economie.fgov.be