Reform of legislation on civilian intelligence

The aim of the legislative project is to improve the capability of Finnish society to protect against threats to national security. Legislation on civilian intelligence will be reformed to meet the demands of the changed security and cyber environment.

Background to the preparation

The security situation in Finland changed fundamentally when Russia invaded Ukraine and showed that the threat in Europe was real. Russia's actions are the most significant threat to Finland's national security, too.

Due to the heightened threat from Russia, Finnish state leadership needs to receive information on Russia's intentions and plans at a sufficiently early stage. Intelligence legislation should, therefore, be developed so that information on foreign state actors specifically can be obtained more efficiently than before.

The Government Programme states that intelligence legislation will be developed to safeguard the operational capacity of public authorities due to experiences gained from intelligence activities, technological advances and Finland’s NATO membership. 

Regulation on disclosure of intelligence to be reformed

The Finnish Security and Intelligence Service must have sufficient powers to disclose information to the police when doing so is important for national security. In most cases, the police are the authorities that have the power to intervene in activities that pose a threat to national security, such as various hybrid threats.

Therefore, the aim is to amend the provisions on firewalls to enable the sufficient disclosure of intelligence gathered by the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service to the police and other public authorities that have the power to intervene concretely in activities that pose a serious threat to national security detected by the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service.

Intelligence powers must keep pace with technological advances

The intelligence powers of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service will be updated to keep pace with technological advances. The goal is, among other things, to enable intelligence collection targeted at device and system chains and enable intelligence activities to make use of search criteria targeted at message content. 

The purpose of all the activities of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service is to protect Finland's national security and democratic system. The powers are not an end in and of themselves, but a means to produce as valuable information as possible to support decision-making by the state leadership and to combat the most serious threats to the security of Finland and Finns as effectively as possible.

Project organisation

A working group has been appointed for the project. The working group is chaired by Petri Knape, Director of the National Security Unit at the Ministry of the Interior. The working group has members from the Ministry of the Interior’s Police Department, Border Guard Department and National Security Unit, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Defence, the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service, and the Defence Command. The project also has a secretariat consisting of experts from the Ministry of the Interior's National Security Unit and the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service.

Project status

The project was set up on 21 December 2023 and it will run until 31 July 2026.

Johanna Hakala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, vice-chair of the project, tel. +358 295 488 452, [email protected]