Bookmark: "Kun suomalainen perheenäiti palasi kotimaahan, hän törmäsi digimuuriin"

Sebastian Greger


Another Finnish language bookmark, but it’s so important a topic that it deserves to be shared beyond the language border:

Public broadcaster YLE shares the story of a Finnish citizen moving back to Finland from abroad. Not having access to an online bank account (as 450.000 other people living in Finland; particularly elderly, disabled, imprisoned or ill people), she keeps running into the “digital walls” of a society where owning and using this form of digital ID has become such an assumed default that those excluded struggle to cope with everyday life.

She is quoted:

I was entirely in shock as I understood that it is impossible to live a normal life in Finland without bank account based online ID

Declaring taxes, booking vaccination appointments, or making commercial contracts like electricity for your home – in Finland, all of these require to ID through online banking. There are workarounds and alternatives, though these often involve queueing at physical service points. And often the alternative paths come with the scent of distrust, as the “strong identification” via the banks is such a trusted default.

This is a great example (and important news story) about how considering access to some technology as something taken for granted harms people. This is exactly why the consideration of technology non-use is so important when designing new systems. And, the more I explore the connection between that topic with accessibility, it becomes clear how considering non-use, too, is a key element in inclusive design.