The parliament of Finland voted to approve a controversial new law that gives employers the right to monitor their employees’ emails if they suspect any kind of deviant or illegal behaviour is going on. Dubbed the “Lex Nokia” law, or the data retention law, the bill was approved by 96 members of parliament, while 56 voted against it.
The hotly debated piece of legislation gained even more controversy when it was reported that Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia would pull all its operations out of Finland if the new bill was not passed. Nokia denied the claims.
The AFP explains that the new law allows libraries, schools and telecom companies which provide information networks to monitor what people are doing on their computers. While the boss cannot actually read an email, they can check where the email is being sent and if there are any attachments. This is apparently meant to uncover industrial espionage.
Many electronic rights activists and legal experts have openly criticised the law, complaining the parameters of the law are vague, and it is unlikely to prevent company secrets from being passed along. Finnish President Tarja Halonen still needs to sign the bill into law, and is being passionately lobbied by Electronic Frontier Finland (EFFI), a group that defends people’s electronic rights.