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Civilian intelligence legislation to be supplemented with two decrees

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 29.5.2019 12.29 | Published in English on 5.6.2019 at 11.37
Press release 41/2019
Photo: LK/Vesa Moilanen

The Finnish Government laid down two decrees today concerning civilian intelligence. The decrees will take effect on 1 June at the same time with the intelligence legislation.

The supervision of intelligence is based on the recording of information during intelligence activities. The Finnish Government’s decree on civilian intelligence includes more detailed instructions on such information recording for the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO).

The recording of information has to be sufficiently explicit and detailed to ensure efficient and credible intelligence supervision. That is why it is necessary to provide more exhaustive instructions than those laid out in the legislation, particularly on the obligation to make notes in the records relating to intelligence procedures. Such notes in records will also improve the legal protection of intelligence authorities, the subjects of intelligence acquisition and third parties.

In future, SUPO will no longer be a pre-trial investigation authority

One of the new decrees will be used to change the Finnish Government’s previous decree on pre-trial investigations, coercive measures and secret intelligence acquisition.

With the new civilian intelligence legislation, SUPO will no longer act as a pre-trial investigation authority. For that reason, it will no longer need to provide an annual report on the use and supervision of secret coercive measures and their protection.

Due to SUPO’s new administrative position, in future, any training it provides on fictitious purchase and undercover operations will need to be approved by the Ministry of the Interior. More detailed orders on cooperation and training between police units that carry out undercover operations will be given by the National Police Board.

The intelligence legislation will take effect at the beginning of June

On 1 June, new legislation concerning civilian intelligence will come into effect in Finland. The aim of this legislation is to improve Finland’s protection capabilities, for example, against terrorism, espionage by foreign states or the disruption of critical infrastructures.

The authority to perform civilian intelligence tasks will lie with SUPO. With this in mind, the supervision of SUPO’s activities will be intensified.

Within the administration of internal affairs, the supervision duties will be divided between the Ministry of the Interior and SUPO itself. The Ministry of the Interior will be required to report annually to the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Intelligence Ombudsman about SUPO’s use of intelligence procedures and civilian intelligence protection, as well as the monitoring of their use.

The external judicial supervision of civilian intelligence will mainly be the responsibility of the Intelligence Ombudsman and the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Parliamentary supervision will reside with the Intelligence Committee.

Additional information:

Senior Ministerial Adviser, Legislative Affairs, Marko Meriniemi, tel. +358 295 488 561, [email protected]