Court condemns illegal snooping by Sonera

By EDRi · June 2, 2005

The district court of Helsinki, Finland, has decided telecommunication company Sonera seriously violated telecommunication privacy between 1998 and 2001. On 27 May 2005 the court handed down suspended sentences to five employees for their unauthorised use of mobile telephone records. Sonera executives ordered a detailed examination of the telephone behaviour of employees, to find out who had been leaking information to the press. But on another occasion the security staff also voluntarily and without any legal basis provided traffic data to the National Bureau of Investigation, the Security Police and the Helsinki Police to help investigate the murder of a prostitute.

The Finnish newspaper Helsingi Sanomat reports: “The harshest sentence was handed down to former Information Security Manager Juha E. Miettinen, who got a ten-month suspended jail term. (….) The defendants claimed that digging up the information was part of a legal investigation into suspected wrongdoing. (….But) the court did not believe the claims of Miettinen, generally seen as the main defendant, who said that he had misunderstood the law. The court noted that Miettinen had written books on data protection, spoken at seminars in the field, and taken part at least to some extent in legislative work on the matter.”

According to Sanomat the sentences were less severe than the prosecution had demanded. The defendants are expected to launch an appeal.

Five get suspended sentences in Sonera telephone record case (01.06.2005)

EDRI-gram: Finnish security police charged with illegal snooping (02.12.2004)