A New Law Designed to Improve Data Protection in Electronic Communications

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Helsinki, 1 July, 2004 — A New Law Designed to Improve Data Protection in Electronic Communications

A new law, to enter into force on September 1, will improve data protection in electronic communications. It was felt necessary to specify regulations on the protection of privacy so that the legislation would better answer the demands of the EC Directive on privacy and electronic communications.

"I hope that this law helps to rebuild the individual's confidence in communications services and we will see less malpractice", says Mr Juhapekka Ristola, Ministerial Adviser at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, who participated in the legislative preparations.

A key objective of the law is to enhance information security and balanced development of versatile electronic communications services. Ristola expects that people will gain the courage to start using new services now that the law enters into force. "The legislative preparations aimed at balancing between the advancement of service and the basic rights to be protected", asserts Ristola.

National demands were incorporated into the amendments to the Finnish legislative proposal on data protection. The concept of corporate subscriber implies that the rights and obligations to process identification information expand from operators to all corporations or associations that process users' confidential information. According to Mr Timo Lehtimäki, FICORA's Head of Information Security, the explosive growth of corporations and associations that need to be supervised poses it own challenges for the work. And, at least in the beginning, supervision will be reactive.

In addition to the concept of corporate subscriber, another significant national reform is the filtering of spam. "It is not sufficient that sending spam is banned in Finland since spam is nearly always sent from outside Finland and the EU. The government proposal encourages filtering that is carefully implemented, and which operators, value-added service providers and corporate subscribers can use to remove interference directed towards information security and to prevent security breaches", maintains Ristola.

Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority Ficora

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