Nokia Law approved

By EDRi · March 11, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Nokia-Gesetz angenommen|]

This article is also available in:
Macedonian: [Усвоен Законот Lex Nokia |,mk/]

The snooping law, also called Lex Nokia, was approved in the Finnish
Parliament two weeks ago. EDRi-member Electronic Frontier Finland has
appealed to Tarja Halonen, the President of Finland, to intervene: before
signing it President Halonen should request the Supreme Court’s opinion on
whether the amended Act on the Protection of Privacy in Electronic
Communications clashes with the constitution.

Member of Parliament, Jaakko Laakso (Left Alliance) suggested that the
Parliament should request a statement on the constitutionality of the law
from the Venice Commission. Some parliamentarians, for example Heli
Järvinen (Greens), also agreed with professor Tuomas Ojanen, who has advised
that some organizations should take the matter up with the European Court
of Human Rights.

Other EDRi-members have confirmed that the situation can be worst in other
European countries. In Spain there is no specific law, but based on a
sentence from the Spanish Supreme Court, employers can inspect data and
communications at work under the condition that the employer previously
declares a policy for the use of computers and Internet at work, e.g. what
digital communications and files are going to be inspected. Therefore,
employers can establish the level of privacy at work, as for the Supreme
Court the usage of computers and Internet is not covered by the law on
worker’s rights.

In France there is a decision from 9 July 2008 by the Cassation Court
concluding that “connections established by an employee to Internet
websites during his working time and thanks to the computer provided by his
employer to execute his work are presumed to have a professional character,
such that the employer may search them in order to identify them, in the
absence of the employee”. In other words, the whole navigation history of an
employee can be searched by the employer.

Previously, a decision of 2006 by the same court in a different case,
established that all computer files of an employee are presumed
as professional, unless they are explicitely marked as “personal”,
and can thus be searched in his absence.

For email messages, the same court ruled in a third case in 2001 that
email should obey the same regime (professional, unless marked as

In summary, in France anything unmarked as “personal” is searchable by the
employer, in the absence of the employee.

Parliament Passes “Lex Nokia” Bill (4.03.2009)

Finnish Parliament approves e-mail tracking law (5.03.2009)

EFFI urges Finnish president to intervene in Lex Nokia (5.03.2009)

Spanish Supreme Court Decision on snooping (only in Spanish, 26.09.2007)

Cybersurveillance at work in France (only in French, 28.07.2008)

French DPA (CNIL) – Guide for employers and employees (only in French, 2008)

Venice Commission

EDRi-gram: Lex Nokia storms into the Finnish Parliament (25.02.2009)