Legislative package on intelligence submitted to Parliament

Government Communications DepartmentMinistry of DefenceMinistry of JusticeMinistry of the Interior 25.1.2018 14.10 | Published in English on 26.1.2018 at 16.11
News item 5/2018

On 25 January, the Government submitted to Parliament four legislative proposals that together form a legislative package on intelligence. The Ministry of Justice has drafted a proposal to amend the Constitution as well as legislation on the oversight of intelligence gathering. Legislation on civilian intelligence has been drafted at the Ministry of the Interior and that on military intelligence at the Ministry of Defence. The preparation of intelligence legislation is part of Prime Minister Sipilä’s Government Programme.

New constitutional limitation would allow intelligence gathering for the purposes of protecting national security

The Government proposes that the Constitution be amended so that provisions on limitations of the secrecy of confidential communications that are essential for protecting national security could be laid down in ordinary law if the necessary preconditions are met. In practice, the amendment would allow the enactment of legislation on intelligence gathering powers.

Civilian intelligence legislation would give the Finnish Security Intelligence Service new ways to safeguard national safety and security

The Government has proposed the adoption of intelligence legislation in Finland, with the aim of improving our protection capabilities against serious threats to national security. Such threats include terrorism, espionage by foreign states or disruption of critical infrastructure. The Finnish Security Intelligence Service would have new powers for identifying threats and responding to them.

Military intelligence legislation would improve the Defence Forces’ intelligence gathering on international threats

On 25 January 2018, the Government submitted a proposal to Parliament for an act on military intelligence and acts related to it. The proposal would improve intelligence gathering by the Defence Forces related to serious international threats in such a way that the Defence Forces would be given powers for human intelligence, information systems, radio signal intelligence and network traffic intelligence. Military intelligence helps prepare for military threats against Finland and provides support for other authorities.

Intelligence ombudsman to oversee intelligence gathering

An intelligence oversight system would consist of both parliamentary oversight and a new authority, an ‘Intelligence Ombudsman’, responsible for the oversight of legality. Under the proposal submitted to Parliament, trust in the appropriateness of intelligence gathering and in the realisation of legal protection of individuals would be ensured by efficiently organising the oversight of legality and a strong mandate and powers to the oversight bodies.