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Supo: Spying on foreigners on the increase

Foreign states are increasingly engaged in spying on their nationals resident in Finland, according to Finland’s Security Police (Supo). However, Supo says current legislation doesn’t give Finnish officials the muscle to intervene.

Suojelupoliisin ovi.
Image: Yle

Supo is coming to grips with a new immigration phenomenon: the ongoing surveillance of foreigners on Finnish soil. Supo chief Antti Pelttari said in a YLE television interview that so-called 'refugee espionage' is also being practiced in Finland and is being conducted by non-democratic states.

“Spying may target opposition figures or political activists whose activities are considered to go against the national interests of these non-democratic states,” Pelttari said.

Information obtained by spying may be used against the target’s family or friends in their homeland. Supo says that refugee spying has become more widespread.

“The number of foreigners living in Finland has multiplied since the 1990s, we have many immigrants and refugees and other settlers from non-democratic countries,” said Pelttari.

Supo sees the development as serious, and Pelttari says he would welcome a discussion on criminalising the practice.

“This has been incorporated into criminal legislation in Sweden and Norway and because the situation here is the same as in these countries, I would like to see a discussion in Finland,” said to the Supo chief, adding that current legislation does not allow the Security Police to intervene in such cases.

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