EFFI: Finland rewrote the Internet censorship law

Helsinki 16 February 2003
Press release
For immediate release
Electronic Frontier Finland – EFFI ry

The Finnish parliament has substantially revised a controversial
law proposal on restrictions to the freedom of speech. Initially the
proposal was seen as a threat to the free communications in the
Internet. It was feared any publisher or service provider would have
had to log practically all Internet traffic, archive all publications
for up to three months and even monitor discussion groups.

Electronic Frontier Finland has been the leading critic of the law
proposal for more than a year. Kai Puolamäki, an EFFI board member,
was invited to present EFFI’s critique at the parliament’s hearing
session. “There were a number of serious problems in the government’s
proposal”, Puolamäki notes and continues: “Luckily, the parliament
heard us and took our comments into account. Now the result is a
better law. There is no doubt on it – we can make a difference.”

Freedom of speech instead of restrictions is now expressly the
starting point. The scope of retention is more narrow. Archivation
time is significantly reduced to three weeks. Any communication not
edited by service provider or website owner is not governed by the law
– this means chat rooms and newsgroups are saved. Finally, the logging
of Internet traffic data is no longer required. So privacy is saved,

EFFI’s chairman Mikko Välimäki is pleased. “This is a second huge
victory for us in a short time. Just two weeks ago we persuaded the
parliament to return
the local EU copyright directive implementation for
. Now they rewrote the law on free speech on the
Internet quite in line with our arguments,” he concludes.

In the final stages EFFI received strong company backup for their
effort. Among others, the International Chamber of Commerce joined the
critics with a public notice. Also the media support was important.
Within the last few months, the law proposal was covered a couple of
times in the leading Finnish TV channels and newspapers.

More information:

International Chamber of Commerce: “Finnish companies oppose law to
censor Internet”

Slashdot: “Finland Proposes Editorial Culpability for Web

EFFI’s pages on the law proposal:

Kai Puolamäki
Board member, Electronic Frontier Finland ry
+358 50 522 8111

Mikko Välimäki
Chairman, Electronic Frontier Finland ry
+358 50 598 0498

Electronic Frontier Finland – EFFI ry was founded in 2001 to defend
active users and citizens of the Finnish society in the electronic
frontier. EFFI influences legislative proposals concerning e.g. personal
privacy, freedom of speech and fair use in copyright law. We make
statements, press releases and participate actively in actual public
policy and legal discussions. EFFI has been featured in the national
media including TV, radio and leading newspapers. EFFI also works in
close cooperation with organizations sharing the same goals and values
in the Europe, United States and elsewhere. EFFI is a founding member of
the European Digital Rights and a member of Global Internet Liberty
Campaign. More information from EFFI’s home pages: http://www.effi.org/