Ministry of Transport and Communications demands more public debate on efficiency and impact of online surveillance

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 14.1.2015 11.25
Press release

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has submitted a dissenting opinion to a report by the data acquisition working group of the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry cannot fully share the views expressed in the report, nor can it agree with all of the proposed further measures put forward in it. Some of the proposed measures violate citizens' fundamental rights and can weaken the possibilities of companies to do business.

The Ministry agrees with the working group on the need for intelligence gathering. What is of importance is that the activity must be well-founded and targeted. An example of this is the data system intelligence gathering put forward in the report, which would be carried out only in data systems located outside of Finland.

The Ministry does not support the implementation of intelligence gathering through online surveillance, as there are no possibilities to distinguish domestic and foreign data transfer from each other. Furthermore, online surveillance would not necessarily yield the desired information, owing to the development and increased use of encryption techniques.

"The online surveillance proposed by the working group is ineffective and oversized. In practice online surveillance is untargeted mass surveillance in which the confidentiality and data security of citizens' communications, the protection of privacy, and possible economic preconditions are weakened", says Minister of Education and Communications Krista Kiuru.

In the view of the Ministry, the working group's report does not give adequate justification for the need for online surveillance, and alternative modes of operation have not been put forward.

"With our dissenting opinion we want to open up a proper discussion on the need for and impact of online surveillance. Especially weighty reasons for public debate exist when the proposed measures affect citizens fundamental rights and preconditions for business activities", Minister Kiuru emphasises, explaining the background of the dissenting opinion.

Further information

Ms Päivi Antikainen, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2101
Mr Antton Rönnholm, Special Adviser to the Minister of Education and Communications, tel. +358 295 34 2676