Pere Sihtkapital and the survey company deleted, on Monday, all personal information obtained or collected for the survey of childless families, including register data and questionnaire responses. The Foundation extends its apologies to all women who participated in this survey.
The Pere Sihtkapital foundation has announced that all processing of personal data related to the survey "for families with and without children" has been suspended as of Saturday. Priority one for the foundation is the protection of personal information.
"The foundation confirms a failure in obtaining ethics committee approval, which prevents the continuance of research on childless families. Hillar Petersen, a member of the board of Pere Sihtkapital, said that on Monday, the foundation and the survey company RAIT Faktum & Ariko destroyed all personal data obtained or collected in the course of the survey of childless families, including both the register data and the questionnaire responses.
Petersen added that the foundation apologizes to everyone who participated in this survey.
"In addition to suspending the survey aimed at families with many children (two plus - ed.), the foundation, in collaboration with the survey company, has decided, in the interest of protecting personal data, to eliminate the associative feature from the survey responses. This feature, to which respondents agreed, would allow longer-term surveys to link future survey responses to population registration data. The foundation renounces this option as well," Petersen said.
He added that the conditions for the continuation of the study on families with many children will be decided after consultation of the parties concerned. Both the Estonian Data Protection Inspectorate and the ethics committee of the University of Tartu have verified that their approval is not required for the study on families with two or more children.
In addition, the foundation confirmed that no personal information was disclosed to the university during the research conducted under their contract.
ERR reported on Friday that Pere Sihtkapital, a population policy think tank founded with the support of the Isamaa political party, contacted thousands of childless Estonian women on behalf of the University of Tartu, and sent them a survey with personal and sensitive questions such as why they do not have children.
Editor: Mari Peegel, Kirstina Kersa