FC: Finland proposes extensive data retention plan for Net, telcos

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon Nov 25 2002 - 20:18:55 PST

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    Previous Politech message:
    "'Data retention' scheme marches forward in European Parliament"
    Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 18:20:20 +0200
    From: Mikko Valimaki <mikko.valimakiat_private>
    To: declanat_private
    Subject: EFFI: Finland proposes extensive data retention while the country's
      largest Telco executives arrested for data misuse
    Could you consider publishing this. It is also found here: 
    * * *
    Helsinki 25th November 2002
    Press release
    For immediate release
    Electronic Frontier Finland - EFFI ry
    EFFI: Finland proposes extensive data retention while the country's largest 
    Telco executives arrested for data misuse
    Electronic Frontier Finland - EFFI ry demands the Finnish government to 
    change their position regarding the compulsory data retention in 
    telecommunications. EFFI's chairman Mikko Välimäki shoots: "According to a 
    document we have acquired [http://www.effi.org/eu-2002-11-20.html], Finland 
    demands that all telecommunications traffic data inside the EU should be 
    retained for two years."
    The Finland's largest telecommunications operator Sonera is currently under 
    criminal investigation for suspected serious traffic data misuses. The 
    police has imprisoned or is requesting an arrest warrant for six current or 
    former Sonera executives, including the company's former CEO. (See e.g. 
    Helsingin Sanomat 25.11.2002: "Head of Sonera corporate communications 
    arrested", http://www.helsinki-hs.net/news.asp?id=20021125IE1)
    Välimäki continues: "You might think that the Sonera-case would have been a 
    wake-up call for politicians: if data is available, it will be misused 
    sooner or later. But no. Finland seems to push forward with exceptional Big 
    Brother optimism."
    EFFI emphasizes that the police can already request data retention if they 
    have a valid reason to suspect a crime. The extension proposed by Finland 
    would require logging traffic data consisting almost entirely of ordinary 
    communications between citizens.
    Ville Oksanen, international executive of EFFI, comments: "One should also 
    remember that the stored traffic data could be used internationally. For 
    example the Cybercrime treaty, signed by Finland, means that Finland has an 
    obligation to give this kind of information to countries with judicial 
    system not in par with European standards. Although the risk of misuse 
    might be limited in Finland one cannot say the same for example of Albania, 
    Azerbaijan or Russia."
    Oksanen continues: "International organizations defending privacy have 
    already questioned the Finnish initiative. As a newly accepted member of 
    the Global Internet Liberty Campaign EFFI has had a lot to explain since 
    the Finnish government has previously been in the frontline of defending 
    its' citizens' right to privacy."
    The EU initiative is unfortunately not the only legislative initiative that 
    aims at compulsory data detention. The Finnish parliament is currently 
    considering a law proposal that would impose a far-reaching data retention 
    obligations also to Internet-based discussion groups in Finland.
    "Traffic data measures in huge amounts. Storing it for years is not easy 
    nor cheap," says Kai Puolamäki, PhD, an EFFI board member. Puolamäki 
    continues: "A comprehensive obligatory data retention, like the one 
    proposed now, increases the risk of misuse considerably. I would say the 
    possible advantages of data retention are questionable - especially since 
    skilled criminals can easily avoid this kind of surveillance."
    "Think if somebody suggested that janitors should keep track of all 
    visitors entering homes and write down their names. Their logs should be 
    filed for two years, just in case", Puolamäki considers and continues: "The 
    proposal is ridiculous. Unfortunately, when we talk about the Internet and 
    politics, these kind of suggestions seem to be an every-day phenomena in 
    modern-day Finland and the EU."
    Additional information:
    Memorandum by the Council of the European Union on 20 November 2002:
    A document by EFFI on the proposed The law on liabilities in public 
    communications that also proposes a comprehensive data retention:
    Mikko Välimäki
    Chairman, Electronic Frontier Finland ry
    +358 50 5980498
    Ville Oksanen
    Member of the Board, Electronic Frontier Finland ry
    +1 415 572 0349
    Electronic Frontier Finland - EFFI ry was founded in 2001 to defend active 
    users and citizens of the Finnish society in the electronic frontier. EFFI 
    influences legislative proposalsconcerning e.g. personal privacy, freedom 
    of speech and user rights in copyright law. We make statements, press 
    releases and participate actively in actual public policy and legal 
    discussions. EFFI has been featured in the national media including TV, 
    radio and leading newspapers. EFFI also works in close cooperation with 
    organizations sharing the same goals and values in the Europe, United 
    States and elsewhere. EFFI is a founding member of the European Digital 
    Rights http://www.edri.org/ and a member of Global Internet Liberty 
    Campaign http://www.gilc.org/. More information from EFFI's homepages: 
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