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In Finland, Nokia May Get Its Own Snooping Law 284

Posted by kdawson
from the expectation-of-privacy dept.
notany writes "Nokia may be too big a company for Finland (a country of 5 million people). It seems that Nokia's lobbyists can push an unconstitutional law through the legislature at will. After Nokia was caught red-handed, twice, snooping on its employees (first 2000-2001, second 2005), the company started a relentless lobbying and pressure campaign against politicians to push what the press has been calling 'Lex Nokia' or the 'snooping law.' This proposed law would allow employers to investigate the log data of employees' e-mails, legalizing the kind of snooping that Nokia had engaged in. Parliament's Constitutional Law Committee asked the opinions of eight legal experts, and all opined that the proposed law is unconstitutional. The committee ignored all the advice and declared the proposal constitutional." An anonymous reader adds a link to an AFP story reporting that Nokia has threatened to pull out of Finland unless the law passes.
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In Finland, Nokia May Get Its Own Snooping Law

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  • The Lesson Is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cc_pirate (82470) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @03:58PM (#26686429)

    Any corporation that is big enough and has enough money, can get the politicians they buy to do anything for them, regardless of the effects on the rest of us.

    The average person is nothing but a 21st century serf and the corporations are the royalty.

    The scenery and technology has changed since the 1700s, but not much else has.

  • Boycott (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:00PM (#26686439)

    My mobile phone is due for an upgrade. It looks like Nokia join Sony-Ericcson on the blacklist; they can all get fucked. I guess it's a Samsung this time. If only all the 13 year old girls sending a million texts a month and those jackasses constantly yakking into their mobiles actually cared about corporate ethics, then such a boycott may actually be meaningful.

  • by syousef (465911) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:01PM (#26686451) Journal

    - Law to force phone manufacturers to make their keys on their phones large enough for an adult male to operate without using a thimble

    - Law to make phones water resistant. Currently all Nokia phones have a minature water detector linked to a self destruct mechanism

    - Law to ensure annoying bugs in firmware are dealt with in a timely manner. No, not by releasing an updated model that you have to buy at full price because you're still on contract with the buggy phone.

    - Law to ensure that the loudspeaker function doesn't change (and in particular isn't replaced with a cancel call button) between making a call and the call being connected.

    - Law to ensure the phone doesn't require speakerphone to be activated before a human being is able to actually hear what's said. Phones shouldn't be built for magical leprechauns that live inside them

    - Law to ensure that the duration of a call is logged in the call log, not just for the last call.

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:01PM (#26686457)

    The difference is that the employees can quit and get other jobs and the customers can buy other products.

  • Promises (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unlametheweak (1102159) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:03PM (#26686477)

    an AFP story reporting that Nokia has threatened to pull out of Finland unless the law passes.

    Let them go. Companies that hurt a country should not be tolerated. Only companies that are useful should be welcomed. A corrupt company leaving a country is not a "threat" ("a source of danger").

  • Corruption test (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Judge_Fire (411911) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:09PM (#26686523) Homepage

    Finland has a long track record for being regarded as the least corrupt country in the world [google.com], or definitely in the top three, depending on the three.

    This story has been seen as provocative, given this lily white context, so it's actually quite interesting to see where this goes, especially as we're simultaneously observing the story unfold around the 2% vote fail issue [slashdot.org].

  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:11PM (#26686539)

    Wouldn't it be insanely careless to leak information by sending suspicious emails from your corporate account anyway?

    Also, does anyone who cares about privacy in any degree use corporate email for anything personal? I think it's reasonable to expect that your nokia.com account should only be used for your official nokia business. Also, corporate emails are typically much less convenient than e.g. gmail anyway, and with limited quotas. Do you really want to use them when you don't have to?

  • by cc_pirate (82470) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:21PM (#26686621)

    Even if you've never worked for a corporation in your life, you are still at the mercy of their whims when they buy politicians and laws (which they do constantly).

    That still makes you a peon and the corporations the royalty anyway you look at it.

    Maybe you can be the village blacksmith (Consultant) rather than the Baron's whipping boy (corporate programmer), but that still doesn't make you any less subject to the whims of the law put in place by the Royalty.

  • Re:Boycott (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Godji (957148) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:26PM (#26686649) Homepage
    What did SE do?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:30PM (#26686689)

    What you're saying it was blackmail? Is blackmail OK? Why would it be OK for a big corporation?

    This kind of law, let alone this kind of behaviour, sets a very scary precedent.

  • by GTarrant (726871) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:32PM (#26686715)
    I'm surprised that the employment contracts for those employees did not stipulate that all employee email passing through their systems was subject to search.

    Perhaps, in Finland, one cannot sign away this particular right.

    After all, many employment contracts in the US specify that one's job is "at-will" and one can be fired at any time for any reason (mine does). However, signing such a contract still leaves you with rights that the government considers as inviolate, such as the right not to be fired due to your race. No amount of signing, even if the contract specifically states "You sign away this specific right" can take some enumerated rights from you.

    Perhaps in Finland, the right not to be spied upon by one's employer is such a right. I don't know that, but if Nokia has multiple times been chastised for doing this, one might assume that could be the case.

  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:36PM (#26686741)
    Who knows? By the time you get there, they might have joined the rest of the world and no longer care about their citizen's privacy.

    It's looking that way.

    But who am I, as an American, still subject to George W. Bush and Alberto Gonzales' so-called Patriot Act with all the warrantless wiretaps, no notice search warrants, gag orders, etc, to criticize any other country in any way for not caring about citizen privacy?
  • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:42PM (#26686787)

    Listen son, in the Real World people don't have a choice in whether they can work to feed themselves or not. Unfortunately work takes up a disproportionate amount of time in one's life (despite computers and robots which were supposed to eliminate the need to work). Companies need to start accommodating workers instead of spying on them, stressing them out, and treating them like shit. A company like Nokia that will go out of its way to break the law in order to harm its employees should be forced to nationalize its assets (or at least have a suitable and similar punishment), unfortunately the people who run companies tend to be hypocrites and untrustful. We need to start spying on the executives of large companies, and not the other way around.

  • by sabernet (751826) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:48PM (#26686837) Homepage

    Solution: Nokia is attempting to extort the gov't to draw a custom law for them.

    So the gov't nationalizes Nokia as part of a law they would draw up instead that states that Corps attempting extort the gov't should be nationalized.

    Sure it doesn't sound fair and is, itself, a scary precedent. But it's no scarier then letting Nokia run a privately owned country and would certainly teach the CEO a thing or two about fucking with the people who grew his company up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:48PM (#26686843)

    "Buying politicians" used to be called "bribing" and also used to be illegal.

    WTF happened?

  • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:49PM (#26686851)
    Arrested for what? I'm not sure there is a law forbidding company representatives from saying their company will leave if the legislative environment of a country is not changed to their liking.
  • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:51PM (#26686869)

    The difference is that the employees can quit and get other jobs and the customers can buy other products.

    Yeah employees have choices; they can quit, they can go postal, they can suck cock, etc. Unfortunately the choices that most employees have are often just as negative or worse than doing nothing.

    And yes, customers can stop buying from Walmart to stop the economic collapse of their towns. This doesn't happen for some strange economic reason. They (the smiling minimum wage Walmart Worker) will sell you the rope to hang yourself, and at bargain prices.

  • by ultrabot (200914) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @05:02PM (#26686957)

    So what are you saying, laws are for little people?

    I'm saying: if nokia really thinks they need this, they can implement it inside their own IT infrastructure if they want. If that is the alternative to shipping the jobs to india / china, I'm all for it - because this scheme doesn't really hurt people who know how the system works, and can take precautions with mails they send. Amend this with "for personal emails use gmail", and it's as humane as needs to be.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @05:11PM (#26687049)

    Regardless of whether you find it harmless in this specific instance or not, ignoring the constitution just because it's convenient for a company doesn't set a very good precedent, now does it?

  • Re:In soviet union (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eiapoce (1049910) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @05:13PM (#26687059)

    Anyone calling the Finns "submissive" towards the USSR has never bothered to read a history book. If the Finns were submissive, Finland wouldn't even exist as a country today. The Finns stood up to Stalin [wikipedia.org] and resisted his aggressive designs

    And that is when they were allied with Hitler's Germany.

    Nevertheless this law is absurd as much as absurd are part of finnish costumes. A country where there is no privacy and you are eligible to get anyone's identity and tax forms with a SMS isn't a country protecting his citizens right to private life (unless they are gipsies [countrystudies.us] of course).

  • Re:To Clarify (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @05:42PM (#26687317)

    What's absurd about that?

  • Re:In soviet union (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tietokone-olmi (26595) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @05:47PM (#26687353)

    Call it what you will; I like to call it "less than being conquered". Don't get me wrong -- it's vastly preferable to the other thing, but it's not a victory. Calling it such a thing is a leftover of the old cultural homogeneity that took a beating in the post-Soviet-breakup crash and the recession that followed. Reminding people of the lies they were fed during that time will get you weird looks, after which whatever you say goes in one ear and out the other.

    Now with regard to the Quest for All Land Between The Border and The Urals, also known as Operation Barbarossa. I'll say that it was a pretty smart tactical move at the time: it wasn't all that certain that Nazi Germany wasn't going to win (though it's painfully obvious in retrospect). Taken this way, it was a method for hedging our bets and hopefully avoiding both Stalin's and Hitler's purges, whichever would end up victors.

    Still, attacking Russia, even during the summer, was nothing short of madness brought on by jingoism and the belief that as allies of Nazi Germany we'd be invincible. ("What Soviet arms industries? They're just a bunch of ignorant farmers, aren't they. We'll have their cake just like the last time.") Between the wars, speaking publicly of peace and goodwill would get one locked up for treason. Not a nice time from a civil rights perspective.

    As for museums, gee, I have really no idea. There's a museum of military aviation somewhere, and one about historical armor in Parola. The national museum in Helsinki has a permanent display of pre-independence arms and armor (as in personal armor. plate.). For this, you're really asking the wrong guy. Perhaps wikitravel would serve you better?

  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:37PM (#26687667) Homepage

    In the US, we especially don't like tax-payer funded IT gear being used for union/political use.

    The employer paid for it, they should get to dictate its use. If Nokia says "use work computers at own risk, we can see whatever you do on them", that is their prerogative. How'd you like it if you owned a company and employees were using the company vehicle for personal use...and YOU got in trouble for trying to get information about it? Nokia should leave Finland. A company SHOULD leave any place it finds a hostile environment.

  • by saigon_from_europe (741782) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:44PM (#26687711)

    It's pretty ludicrous that in Finland you can just take confidential company information and use your work email to send it to a competitor.

    If you want to sell confidential data to your company's competitor, it is very likely that you'll do it via your home internet account. Does it mean that Nokia should be able to read your private mail too?

    It is some strange trend that companies become so paranoid. Treating employees like traitors will not help them in any way. Those who want to hurt the company will find the way to do it anyhow. For instance, good way to hurt your company is to ruin its public image by breaking laws and lobbying for ridiculous legislations.

  • Re:To Clarify (Score:3, Insightful)

    by saigon_from_europe (741782) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:58PM (#26687795)

    Does anyone here really think you could run a large company without being able to monitor emails sent by company representatives, using company resources? Does this really seem right to you?

    I still don't understand how this kind of monitoring does any help in running the company?

  • Re:To Clarify (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ogdenk (712300) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @07:14PM (#26687893)

    Does anyone here really think you could run a large company without being able to monitor emails sent by company representatives, using company resources? Does this really seem right to you?

    Yes. If you have reason to suspect the individual, you can ask him to turn over the e-mails or ask him to leave. Going behind someone's back and spying on them creates undue stress and a backstabbing working environment where noone can trust anyone. Been there. Done that.

    A corporation doesn't have the right to step on the rights of individuals just because the individual has been granted the "privilege" to make them money.

    If the government isn't supposed to do it on a whim, why should the company be allowed to?

    Corporations do not deserve rights. People deserve rights.

  • by cptdondo (59460) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @08:59PM (#26688565) Journal

    Yeah, well, and that attitude has kept the US at the forefront of individual freedom and liberty... Like, oh, habeas corpus.. No wait, they did away with that.. OK, freedom from snooping on phone conversations... Oh, they did away with that too. Like the ability to watch a DVD on my computer, or share music with my friends. No, wait, can't do that either.

    What were you saying about leaving a hostile environment?

  • Re:In soviet union (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:45PM (#26689705) Journal

    Call it what you will; I like to call it "less than being conquered". Don't get me wrong -- it's vastly preferable to the other thing, but it's not a victory

    I think it's the best a nation the size of Finland could expect against a nation the side of the Soviet Union. What would have been the better alternative?

    Still, attacking Russia, even during the summer, was nothing short of madness brought on by jingoism and the belief that as allies of Nazi Germany we'd be invincible

    I don't know what I'd call it exactly but I can't really say as I blame the Finns for wanting to retake the lands that were stolen by the Soviet Union. You'll note that the United States never declared war on Finland and even sent congratulations when the Finns initially liberated Karelia. It's a shame that geography and geopolitics didn't align a little bit differently, but given the hand Finland was dealt I still think you did pretty well.

  • by twostix (1277166) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:48PM (#26689739)

    "Nokia should leave Finland."

    WHAT? You've got some strange ideas my friend. So how's that work exactly? Does the executive move overseas (boohoo)? The employees? How does a multinational company 'leave' a country? And what will they do with their employees who actually make the company anything more than just a VC Firm? Fire them? Then what? So they've got a nice Nokia Trademark and no one to do anything with it. Oh and watch their share price go to 0.

    Think the world and shareholders will wait and forgive their debts while they start from fresh?

    "A company SHOULD leave any place it finds a hostile environment."

    What does that mean exactly? Nokia started in Finland, grew and thrived under the laws as they stand so I guess that it's not that 'hostile'. And of course it's just *that* easy for a multibillion dollar company to pick up and leave and start fresh in a foreign nation, which of course would have it's own set of laws and regulations to work under.

    Or do you mean "A company SHOULD leave any place whose government wont do exactly as its told when it's told by the tiny group of people, many who are foreigners, that make up it's shareholders."? Because that's all that amounts too.

    Companies are just tiny groups of citizens working together under various pieces of legislation. The construct of a company has no inherent 'rights' and most constitutions don't even mention them. So why do you, and people like you, keep trying to tell us that companies have some sort of power and place alongside (and usually elevated above) private citizens? Companies in each individual country have exactly the rights given to them by citizens of that country via their government, no more and no less.

    Companies can't tap employee phones or open letters addressed to employees, so why would email be any different?

  • Re:In soviet union (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Monday February 02, 2009 @12:37AM (#26690187) Journal

    Let me know when Cuba is actually invaded by the US and how they do. And don't say Bay of Pigs either -- the Soviets sent a million men into Finland.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein

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