More online monitoring after Norway attacks

Finnish police have promised to monitor the internet more closely for so-called ‘weak signals’ in the wake of the twin terror attacks in Norway.

Speaking to Aamu-tv, Deputy National Police Commissioner Robin Lardot said they will look harder for signs that people might be planning terrorist attacks, after Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, who was a member of various far-right extremists groups on the net, killed at least 76 people in an Oslo bomb attack and a subsequent shooting massacre at an island youth camp.

Lardot said that the perpetrators of two Finnish school massacres, Matti Saari and Pekka-Eric Auvinen, also gave weak signals away online. “In this [Norway’s] case, a person has also planned the action for a long time. When we had school shootings here, nearly all of them had the same trait: they had leaks. In other words, the perpetrators had the need to tell that they were planning something like this.”

As police can only physically monitor a fraction of the vast content on the web, Finland has a system where any user can lodge an anonymous complaint against an unsafe page. Although further investigation is undertaken by police following many of the thousands of reports received each year, very few result in convictions.

Mikko Paatero, the national police commissioner, said in a YLE report, “Freedom of speech always comes first. Writings on the internet have to have a clear criminal intent if the police are to get involved and contact those people.”