Speaker of the Parliament Paula Risikko (NCP) spoke to reporters after the speakers had convened to determine how to proceed with the bills for new intelligence laws in Helsinki on Thursday, 14 February. (Credit: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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PAULA RISIKKO (NCP), the Speaker of the Parliament, has confirmed that the bills for new civilian and military intelligence laws will be submitted for further review to two parliamentary committees.

The Parliament’s Administration Committee and Constitutional Law Committee will re-examine the bills to determine if they and the statements issued on them are in compliance with the constitution.

The bills were to be discussed during a plenary session in the Finnish Parliament on Wednesday. The Parliament’s Administration Committee, however, withdrew the bills from the agenda only hours before the session in response to the emergence of concerns that it had failed to take into account observations made by the Constitutional Law Committee.

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Risikko on Thursday said the issue would have been considerably easier to resolve had the statement not been added to the agenda of the session.

“If the statement hadn’t been put on the table, the committee could’ve fixed it itself by sending it to the Constitutional Law Committee. This is a difficult situation for us in the sense that the statement had been put on the table,” she lamented.

The debate was apparently kindled by Juha Lavapuro, a professor of public law at the University of Turku, and Martin Scheinin, a professor of international law and human rights at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Lavapuro and Scheinin tweeted last week that the proposal on civilian network traffic intelligence violates the constitutional provisions on mass surveillance, discrimination and search terms.

Timo Tuovinen, a deputy secretary general at the Finnish Parliament, said the Constitutional Law Committee had specifically stipulated that the bills had to be amended in regards to the prohibition of discrimination and mass surveillance.

Both Tuovinen and Risikko also conceded that the observations made by the legal experts may also apply to the bill for military intelligence.

“The definitions and prohibitions for military and civilian intelligence are identical, and if you’re now calling into question [the bill for] civilian intelligence, it’s logical that we also examine the legislative preconditions for military intelligence,” explained Tuovinen.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi