Finnish plans to lower privacy protection employees

By EDRi · July 2, 2003

On 26 June, the Finnish Ministry of Labour released a draft new version of
the law protecting privacy at the workplace. The proposal would make it
legal to read employees’ email under certain circumstances. It also
contains new regulations on camera surveillance (allowed as long as a
single employee is not singled out) and drug testing (widely allowed at
work, but not as part of job interviews).

The proposal was sternly criticised in the Finnish media for giving too
much leeway to how companies can monitor their employees. Many people are
especially concerned about the fact that employers will be allowed to check
all kind of emails employees receive while they are sick or on holiday. The
traffic data and information in the headers can easily reveal sensitive
personal information that should fall under privacy protection. Secondly,
even if the proposal categorically forbids employers to open private
emails, it is not always possible to know beforehand whether email is
private or work related. Emails often contain both kinds of material.

Tietosuoja ja työntekijän valvonta – työryhmä (no English material is
currently available)

(Contribution by Ville Oksanen, EFFI)