Finnish security police charged with illegal snooping


Three top officials in Finland’s Security Police (SUPO) and the former head of the security unit of the telecommunications service provider Sonera are to be charged in a case involving suspected illegal telecommunications surveillance, according to the Finnish journal Helsingin Sanomat. The case dates back to November 2000, when Juha E.Miettinen, the head of Sonera's security unit, handed over the traffic data records of 5 mobile phone customers to the SUPO without just cause.

The illegal hand-over was brought to light in yet another painful incident compromising the privacy of Sonera staff and customers. Miettinen had personally led an operation to collect telephone records of Sonera employees and outsiders in 2000 and 2001, to investigate which employee had possibly leaked information about internal company affairs to the press.

The case painfully demonstrates the risk of intimate connections between telecom operators and security services. It is no secret that many security desks of providers, especially the former telephony monopolists, are run by former intelligence agents. This risk will only aggravated if providers in the EU will be forced to retain large sets of data about their customers for a long time.

Top officials in Security Police face charges in telephone surveillance case (23.11.2004)
Head of Sonera corporate communications arrested (25.11.2002)
Police believe Sonera security unit illegally monitored telephone records for nearly a year (06.11.2002)

Source: EDRI-gram, biweekly newsletter about digital civil rights in Europe. Number 2.23, 2 December 2004
EDRI and its members: http://www.edri.org/


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