Finnish Big Brother Awards for YTV and Sonera

By EDRi · June 21, 2003

On 4 June EDRI-member EFFI organised a second annual Big Brother Ceremony.
The award in the public sector was given to YTV, a firm that controls
public transport in the Helsinki region. The company received the award for
its new electronical ticket system that stores individual passenger
information, including social security numbers. Anonymous cards were
available, but in practice only for business purposes, at a much higher
price. Only after a long struggle with the the Finnish data protection
agency YTV finally changed their mind and concluded that the system could
also work without any identification of the passengers.

For the Big Brother Award in the business category there was really only
one candidate. Sonera, the biggest telephone company in Finland, was caught
analysing the traffic data from the mobile phones of at least 50 customers,
both employees and outsiders, in order to find out who had been leaking
confidential corporate information to the press. The analysis didn’t
produce a suspect. At least 5 senior staff members were arrested (but later
released) including the company executive officer (CEO). They will most
likely face criminal charges.

A positive award was given to the Finnish ISPs, who have been very
successful in their lobby against mandatory retention of telecom traffic
data. Governmental plans for a 2 year period were withdrawn. Finnish
providers are now required to retain traffic data for a period of 3 weeks.
A honourable mention was given to Finnair, because of the companies refusal
so far to hand-over passenger data to the US government.

Pictures and description of BBA ceremony (translation in English will
follow soon)

YTV English web page:

More arrests in Sonera snooping probe (The Register – 26.11.2002)

(Contribution by Ville Oksanen, EFFI)