Ethical guidelines for digital support

The ethical guidelines for digital support have been compiled at the request of digital support providers. The guidelines present the obligations concerning the provider and the recipient of digital support. The objective of these guidelines is to promote safe and high-quality digital support which is carried out in mutual understanding of both parties. 

What is digital support? 

Digital support is support for the use of e-services, other services and electronic devices. Its purpose is to help customers to use devices and e-services independently and safely. 

Digital support is provided as face-to-face support, remote support and training. 

The content of digital support may vary from guidance on e-services use to installing applications and starting to use them. Each organisation should define what types of digital support it offers. 

Remote support: a chat, telephone or video assistance

Face-to-face support: service points, peer support and support at home 

Training: online training, adult education centres, courses

Digital skills are for everyone 

Digital skills are today’s civic skills, required in taking care of daily matters and engaging in society. The need for digital support concerns all age groups and its content varies. As long as they are motivated and guidance is provided, most people want to and are capable of learning digital skills. 

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, public authorities have an obligation to provide guidance for the use of their services. The contact details for help and guidance must be available in connection with each service provided by the authorities. Public Service Info also provides support for the use of official services by directing customers to the right services.

tel. 0295 500 

As a digital support provider 

  • I help customers to use e-services and electronic devices.
  • My goal is to enable customers to use the e-services and devices independently in future.
  • I encourage customers to use the service themselves in the guidance situation.

I know my limits 

  • I do not need to know everything myself. A situation in which digital support is provided is a good opportunity to learn together. I know the limits of my knowledge and skills and direct the customer to other providers of digital support if necessary.
  • I will not accept and handle the customer’s passwords or means of strong identification, such as online banking IDs, or manage the customer’s personal matters on behalf of the customer.
  • I will not use remote control software when advising the customer how to use services that require strong identification.

This is how I help 

  • I help the customer in a friendly, calm and encouraging manner.
  • I pay attention to the customer’s skill level and make sure that my guidance is clear and the terms I use are comprehensible.
  • As we proceed, I make sure that the customer knows what is happening.
  • I help the customer discreetly and confidentially in situations in which I see their personal information.
  • I comply with the secrecy obligation and do not disclose to anyone matters that have come to my knowledge or documents that I have seen.

As a recipient of digital support 

  • The digital support service will help me learn to use devices and access electronic services independently and safely.
  • My goal is to be able to use services on my own or with lighter support in the future.
  • To improve my own skills, I use the service myself in the guidance situation.

I know my responsibilities 

  • I sign into services that require strong identification myself.
  • If I need support in using the service, I understand that the support person may see my personal information.
  • I am always responsible for my own device and the software in it myself. 

This is how I accept help 

  • I understand that the support person will not be able to help me in all problem situations.
  • The authorities have a statutory obligation to offer guidance in the use of their own services. Other service providers also provide guidance to their customers.
  • I can also get support for using official services from Public Service Info, which directs me to the right service and advises me on how to use it. 

Also remember these 

1. As a rule, the e-services of public administration organisations in Finland require strong identification so that the user’s identity can be verified. 

  • The means of identification include online banking IDs, mobile certificate and certificate card.
  • Customers always carry out strong electronic identification themselves.
  • To provide guidance in using the service, the support person may need to see the customer’s confidential or otherwise sensitive personal data.
  • If the customer has understood the situation and given permission to see their personal data, guidance can continue.

2. Digital support does not give an opinion on the content of the e-services (e.g. applying for aids, handling money). The party responsible for these matters is the customer service of the service provider in question. The support person will direct the customer to them. 

3. Customers whose legal capacity is diminished (e.g. state of health, intoxication) when they need digital support should be directed to the customer service of the service provider in question. 

4. It is important to make sure that minors understand their rights and the risks related to the handling of personal data. (More on the subject in the Lapsi verkossa publication (Growing up in the digital age, introduction in English.))

5. Digital support provided remotely is a developing form of digital support. It requires a new type of competence from digital support providers, developers and recipients alike. 

  • Remote control and screen sharing are two different ways of providing and receiving remote support.
  • According to Finance Finland’s recommendation, guidance for services in the financial sector should not be provided using remote control software and the person providing the guidance should not see any part of the customer's login process.
  • Remember that there are a large number of scams imitating remote support. Provide and receive digital support securely. 

Instructions in the Sámi language 

North Sámi: Digidoarjaga ehtalaš rávvagat
Inari Sámi: Digitorjuu eettisiih ravvuuh
Skolt Sámi: Digituärjjõõzz eettlaž vuäʹppõs