Parliament approves new Intelligence Act

The new laws will give Finland's intelligence service more powers to snoop on emails.

File picture of Finnish Parliament exterior / Credit: News Now Finland

The Finnish parliament approved a new Intelligence Act this week, which the government says will better equip law enforcement agencies to face potential security threats.

Previously, a change to the constitution was fast-tracked through parliament, laying the groundwork for the new Act to come into force.

“Foreign intelligence services have become as active in Finland as they were during the Cold War. In addition to this, almost all terrorist acts are planned online in one way or the other” says Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen (NCP).

“They are operating in the digital age and we are working with 20th century tools. Can we go on like this? No, we cannot. I want to thank all parties in Parliament for their broad consensus on combatting terrorism and foreign network intelligence” adds Mykkänen.

The new intelligence powers can be used by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service SUPO at home or overseas to detect threats to the country, and respond to them at an earlier stage.

New powers granted by the Act allow intelligence agents to gather information on specific locations; copy email messages; intercept an email to copy it and offers more technical abilities to gather and process information on communications that cross Finland’s borders.

Oversight of intelligence gathering will be done by an Ombudsman, who is likely to be appointed by the next government.