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Parliament passes Civilian Intelligence Act

12 Mar 2019, 02:17 ( 2 Months ago)

DF Report
File Photo Finnish parliament by Markku Ulander.

The Parliament on Monday approved a government proposal for a Civilian Intelligence Act, said an official press release.

The new law will help to improve the capabilities to protect against serious threats to national security. Such threats include terrorism, espionage by foreign states or disruption of critical infrastructure.

The new civilian intelligence powers may only be used by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service and they can also be exercised abroad. In future, the basis for information gathering by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service will be not only the prevention and detection of crime but also national security.

The focus of information gathering by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service will be on detecting threats and responding to them at an earlier stage than has been previously possible.

The purpose of the intelligence gathering methods will be to provide state leaders with essential information on operations that pose a serious threat to national security for the purpose of supporting their decision making and safeguarding national security. The security environment in Finland is changing rapidly, and new threats demand a new kind of preparedness and contingency planning.

The intelligence gathering methods detailed in the Act are partly based on the methods already laid down in the Police Act.

Entirely new powers granted by the Act are intelligence gathering on specific locations, copying of a message, interruption of the delivery of a message for copying and network traffic intelligence. Network traffic intelligence enables technical gathering and processing of information on data communications crossing the Finnish border.

Oversight of intelligence gathering will be carried out by the Intelligence Ombudsman and Parliament’s Intelligence Committee.