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Home NATIONALPublic debate on online surveillance demanded
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Thu, 15 Jan, 2015 12:03:35 AM
FTimes Report, Jan 15

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has given a dissenting opinion to a report by the data acquisition working group of the Ministry of Defence, citing the ground that some of the proposed measures violate citizens' fundamental rights and can weaken the possibilities of companies to do business.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Ministry said it 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.

"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", said Minister of Education and Communications Krista Kiuru.

"With our dissenting opinion we want to open up a proper discussion on the need for and impact of online surveillance,” the Minister said explaining the background of the dissenting opinion.

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, according to the release. 

“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,” it said.

Furthermore, online surveillance would not necessarily yield the desired information, owing to the development and increased use of encryption techniques.  

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.

 

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