Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Lex Nokia - You should all be worried
Despite of numerous appeals, demonstrations and strong critisism among the specialists and media (in Finland and abroad), today the Finnish Parliament will put the so called Lex Nokia to the vote in the plenary session.
EDIT: The Government porposal was approved some time ago in a 96-56 vote, with 47 parlamentarians absent.
"Lex Nokia", because the whole idea of the law, let alone big parts of the text itself, has been put together by the reps of the Nokia company.
Also in the Finnish media some high-raking officials in the Finnish ministries have leaked that the Nokia lobbyists have pushed really hard: they have threatened the company would leave Finland if the law is not approved. This is a major scandal already.
And if the law is approved, it will be an even bigger scandal. EDIT: It has been. Unbelievable.
* * *
SO: what is it, actually? The EDRI (European Digital Rights) site calls it "Snooping law and says raison d'être for the bill officially is that it would allow employers to investigate the log data of employees' e-mails, if the company has reason to suspect that corporate secrets are leaking out of the company or that the employer's communication networks are being misused. The employer would not be allowed to read the content of the messages themselves, however. The bill has been dubbed "Lex Nokia" because it was sparked in 2006 by an announcement by prosecutor Jukka Haavisto that Nokia had been illegally monitoring contact information of its employees' e-mail in 2000 to 2001.
Please bear in mind that the "company" mentioned above does not mean just a business, ie. not just enterprises with employers and employees, BUT just anyone running a collective or communal internet service. The controlling party running the net services in question can be a hospital, school, university, library...
Second most important thing: snooping does not just mean the log data of e-mails, it refers also to the log data of the employee's/ web user's/ customer's/ student's/ patient's/ recident's web traffic: which sites is s/he visiting most frequently?
Some company could use it to prevent secret business inventions to be sold to other parties, yes, but it could be used for other, much gloomier purposes.
The controller could find out - even by interpreting the log data - if the employee/ web user/ customer/ student/ patient/ recident is
* an extremist (defined by the government)
* a dissident (defined by the both government and himself)
* practising some strange religion/ a Satanist/ the only Cristian among Satanists
* a native speaker of urdu
* someone who's homeland is Tibet/ in Caucasus/ not where the others think it is
the information in some context could be harmful, even damaging for the web user, and perhaps for others, too.
If only the controller should wish to use it, like sell it forward, give it under pressure to other parties, or store the information carelessly. There are possibilities.
* * *
If this law is approved, Finland will be moving towards the kind of future all dictators & unfair and perhaps even unstable societies without freedom of expression would love. EDIT: Hello, Putin, Il Jong, Gazprom, Shell, Monsanto, the Turkmen Kreml, Lukashenka, and all your friends: These air-heads in Finland have smoothened your way. Now come here and get a copy of the text. You can do what you do legally.
Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick. They knew what was really going to happen.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he wrote about what had happened when the society had all the means of controlling its subjects (not "citizens").
* * *
The Lex Nokia law has got blessing from Constitutional Law Committee.
Therefore, the legislative proposal is presented to Parliament in the pleanary session. Today.
If the Parliament is to approve this law, it will be sent to the President of the Republic for ratification.
Strange. The law is so compilicated the Constitution should be re-written. According to the website of the Parliament of Finland a bill regarding the Constitution must first be approved by a simple majority of votes on its second reading. The bill is then left in abeyance until after the next general election. The newly elected Parliament continues discussion of the bill and must approve the bill by a two-thirds majority of votes in order for it to become law. However, a bill regarding the Constitution need not wait until after the next general elections if it is declared urgent by a five-sixths majority of votes.
I don't understand how this proposal has moved even this far. But hopefully not any further from here.
See the anti-ad in You Tube. The text "SUOMEN PERUSTUSLAKI" on the cover of the book means "the Constitution of Finland".
(The ones who understand Finnish, please see the site of Electronic Frontier Finland and the FAQ.)
Philip K. Dick (1928–1982), one of the greatest science fiction writers in the world. On the right. The manuscipts of Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report were based on his novels and short stories.