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Security police: Phone tapping also occurred in Finland

Earlier in December media outlets in Sweden and Norway reported suspicions of espionage in the form of phone tapping in their respective capitals. On Friday Finland’s security intelligence police Supo said Finland may also have been the target of similar attempts to harvest classified information.

Hätätilanne, älypuhelin, sim-kortti
Sim-kortin poistaminen vaatii osassa puhelimista apuvälineitä. Image: Yle

According to Finnish security police Supo, bogus mobile phone base stations concealing clandestine transmitters may also have been used to illicitly listen in to phone calls in Finland.

“Finland and the people living here are constantly the targets of espionage by foreign powers. Many different kinds of technical systems are used for this purpose, and they can include tracking phones and phone traffic. Based on the information we have the toolkits may include so-called fake base stations,” Supo communications chief Jyri Rantala told Yle.

Supo however declined to say where this may have occurred nor would they provide more detailed information about the different techniques used for spying. The intelligence organisation also remained mum on the question of who might be behind suspected attempts at espionage.

“Unfortunately I can’t provide more detailed information. If we were to divulge more detailed data about what we know of the individuals who may be behind this or their techniques, we would disclose what we know and expose our own methods to the opposite side. That would help them to reach their goals. And that’s the last thing we want,” Rantala explained.

Government handling sensitive information

The communications chief pointed out that the Finnish government handles a great deal of information related to European Union policy, defence strategies, the upcoming election as well as corporate technology and inventions.

“The intelligence police have long stressed that mobile phones shouldn’t be used to discuss sensitive or classified information. That’s the best way to avoid risk. It’s important to be aware that someone else could gather information that you share via your mobile phone – without your knowledge,” he cautioned.

Less than one week ago Norwegian police warned politicians about possible taps on their mobile phones after reportedly uncovering a cache of listening devices in different parts of the capital Oslo, including near the Parliament and other government buildings.

Earlier this week the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter reported that evidence of surveillance devices had been found near government buildings in downtown Stockholm. The paper alleged that it had recorded 42 suspicious operations in mobile phone traffic in the area Tuesday and Wednesday. Sweden's intelligence police Säpo said it would investigate the reports.

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