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Academic claims secure government network plan could be illegal

The Finnish government is aiming to protect itself from potential information leaks or cybercrime offensives by acquiring a single secure network for government services. The secure government network was proposed by a parliamentary committee, but questions have arisen about its legality.

Henkilö käyttämässä kannettavaa tietokonetta.
The aim of the secure network project is to protect state data and IT systems from potential cyber attacks. Image: Yle

The government is looking to invest in a new secure IT network to ward off potential cyber attacks.  The secure network is the brainchild of Parliament’s Administrative Committee.

However Information and IT Professor Tomi Vuotilainen says the proposal borders on illegality.

"During government’s consideration of the proposal it emerged that the official networks provider State Security Networks Ltd isn’t adequately regulated. Its operations could run counter to constitutional law," Vuotilainen said during an Yle radio interview.

State Security Networks Ltd is a government-owned IT and data communications company that focuses on ensuring secure information and communications services. The company’s operations fall under the oversight of the Interior Ministry.

The company provides data communications services for state organizations such as fire, rescue and emergency units, the police service, border guards, the defence forces, health services and customs authorities.

"The official network (VIRVE) maintained by State Security Networks is not regulated as a public management services provider," Vuotilainen added.

The joint secure network project was proposed by Parliament’s Administrative Committee.

MP Marku Lohi, who sits on both the Administrative and Constitutional Law Committees, said that the security network project cannot be taken forward in its current form.

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