Nokia Denies Threat to Leave Finland
Nokia has denied claims that the company would consider moving its HQ out of Finland if current laws on electronic surveillance were not changed. The Helsingin Sanomat newspaper had claimed that Nokia wanted the law, which bans companies from inspecting private emails sent from company computers - to be relaxed.
The firm apparently investigated one of its employees who the firm suspected of sending confidential information to Huawei - and in doing so spied in the email communications from the employee. Although this was illegal, Helsingin Sanomat said that no charges were pressed due to a lack of evidence.
The newspaper claimed that following this incident, Nokia started lobbying lawmakers to have the law changed so that it would be easier to monitor staff emails. A law which relaxes the existing law, nicknamed the "Lex Nokia" - or officially the bill for an amendment to the Act on Data Protection of Electronic Communications - is to be brought before Parliament in early spring.
However, Nokia has denied the claim that it threatened to leave the country has any credence - stating that the newspaper article contained "many mistakes and misunderstandings."
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen also denied that Nokia had threatened to leave the country, but did accept that talks with Nokia about the law had occurred.
"I have not heard about such an ultimatum. I have discussed (the law) with many companies including Nokia, and I have never heard that they have made such a threat," he told the YLE TV station.
According to some critics, the proposed amendment to the current law would allow companies, schools, libraries, and housing companies to investigate and control Internet users' e-mail communications, Net surfing, and messaging.
Although Nokia has denied the claims that it threatened to leave the country - this is not the first time the firm has been linked with such an idea. Back in 2001, Nokia's then Chairman Jorma Ollila had said that the company could move out of Finland to avoid the country's high taxes. He gave the government a five year deadline to consider the situation.
In a slightly ironic move, only last April, Sonera Finland moved its customers' e-mail services from a shared e-mail platform in Sweden back to Finland - due to Sweden implementing laws making it easier to spy on emails.
On the web: Helsingin Sanomat