The Intelligence Ombudsman is tasked with supervising the legality of intelligence gathering methods and the use of intelligence, as well as the legality of other intelligence operations conducted by the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service and the military intelligence authorities.

The Intelligence Ombudsman is also tasked with:
▪ supervising the realisation of fundamental and human rights in intelligence activities;
▪ promoting the realisation of legal protection and adherence to related best practices in intelligence activities; and
▪ monitoring and assessing the functionality of legislation in the Ombudsman's purview and proposing improvements when necessary.

The Intelligence Ombudsman is entitled to obtain the information and reports required for the performance of its oversight duties from authorities and other bodies with public administration duties. The Ombudsman may also conduct inspections in the premises of authorities and other bodies with public administration duties in order to supervise the legality of intelligence activities. In connection with such inspections, the Ombudsman has the right to access the premises and information systems necessary for the supervision of the authority or body.

The Intelligence Ombudsman has the right to attend and speak at sessions of the Helsinki District Court concerning the authorisation of intelligence gathering methods. The Intelligence Ombudsman may complain to the Court of Appeal about decisions of the District Court, but the supervision of the legality of the courts' activities does not fall under the duties and powers of the Ombudsman.

The Intelligence Ombudsman seeks to ensure the legality of intelligence activities primarily by informing the subject of supervision of the Ombudsman's opinion of legal procedure, good governance or the promotion of fundamental and human rights. If the Ombudsman finds that the subject of supervision has violated the law in its intelligence activities, the Ombudsman can ultimately order the use of the intelligence gathering method to be suspended or terminated. The Ombudsman may also refer the matter to the pre-trial investigation authority.

The duties and powers of the Intelligence Ombudsman are based on law. The acts applying to the Intelligence Ombudsman and the oversight of intelligence activities, as well as their key preparatory works, can be accessed through the following links:  

Intelligence Oversight Act 121/2019 (Finlex, in Finnish)       

Parliamentary report 9/2018 (eduskunta, in Finnish)                                                                   

Government proposal 199/2017 (Finlex, in Finnish)

Act Amending the Intelligence Oversight Act 898/2022 (Finlex, in Finnish)

Parliamentary report 4/2022 (eduskunta, in Finnish)

Government proposal 28/2022 (Finlex, in Finnish)