Civilian Intelligence Act to enter into force on 1 June
On 1 June 2019, new civilian intelligence legislation will enter into force in Finland with the goal of improving our capabilities to protect against serious threats to national security. The President of the Republic approved the amendments to the Police Act and the Act on the Use of Network Traffic Intelligence in Civilian Intelligence on 26 April.
The legislation will improve Finland’s capabilities to protect against terrorism, espionage by foreign states or disruption of critical infrastructure. The purpose of the new powers, or intelligence gathering methods, will be to provide state leaders with essential information on operations that pose a serious threat to national security in order to support their decision-making and safeguard national security.
Intelligence gathering methods in civilian intelligence may be used only by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service, and they can also be exercised abroad under certain conditions. Following the new intelligence legislation, the Finnish Security Intelligence Service will no longer have criminal investigation and coercive measure powers. The Finnish Security Intelligence Service will, however, continue to have powers to prevent and detect crime. After the entry into force of the new Acts, the focus of information gathering by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service will be on detecting threats and responding to them at an earlier stage than has been previously possible.
The Acts will enter into force at the same time as the new military intelligence legislation. They will ensure more effective oversight of the Finnish Security Intelligence Service’s actions and establish entirely new bodies — the Intelligence Oversight Ombudsman and Parliament’s Intelligence Oversight Committee — to oversee the actions in addition to the current oversight bodies.