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Wed, 17 Sep, 2014 12:07:44 AM
Fight against terrorism to get easier
FTimes-STT Report, Sept 17

The government is likely to place a bill before parliament with a provision for entitling police access to passenger name record (PNR) in near future.

According to the interior ministry, the aim of the law is to provide the police with the same right of access to information that the Customs and the border protection authorities enjoy.

The new legislation is aimed at fighting terrorism and international crimes.

Recently, it has widely been discussed that some people have left the country to join the fighting in Syria and so far preventing them from travelling to the conflict region has been unsuccessful.

“Currently, the Customs and the Border Guard have access to these data, but the police do not have,” observed Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen.

The Interior Minister, Päivi Räsänen. File Photo Lehtikuva.
If the bill is passed, the police will be able to check the passenger name list, if they suspect there is, for instance, a person involved in international terrorism among the travellers.

The access to passenger information would not require authorisation from the courts.

According to Räsänen, ordinary citizens need not to be worried that the police would use the information for spying purposes.

Other mechanisms are also being explored to counter terrorism, said the minister. Currently, a bill which looks to make terrorism training a criminal offence is being prepared.

A situation which may lead one to be stripped off citizenship is also under consideration.

However, Finland is committed to international agreements that stipulate that people should not be left without a nationality.

A person holding dual citizenship may lose status as a Finnish citizen, but the problem is Finland does not have a record of people with dual citizenship.

According to Räsänen, it is a normal situation internationally whereby states do not have information on their citizens’ other possible nationalities.

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