Finnish police expand snooping investigation

An investigation into former TeliaSonera employees has been widened to cover allegations that they snooped on employee and customer emails

Police are widening an investigation into several former employees of Finland's TeliaSonera for allegedly using the telco's systems to violate the privacy of employees and customers.

Finland's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) now believes that customer emails may have been read and mobile phone calls tapped in an effort to discover the source of leaks of embarrassing information.

Up to 100 employees may have been targeted in the operation, according to the online edition of Finland's daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, but the operation may have violated the privacy of up to 7,000 people they were in contact with between 2000 and 2001.

Previously, the alleged operation by TeliaSonera employees was thought only to have included mobile phone records.

The NBI could not be reached for comment.

A TeliaSonera spokeswoman said the investigation is not targeting the company -- only former employees. She was unable to provide further information. "All we know is what we are reading the papers," she said.

According to Helsingin Sanomat, those under investigation include former chief executive Kaj-Erik Relander. According to the police investigation the primary target of the Sonera operation had been about 100 company employees, board members, and a number of outsiders, including journalists, the newspaper claimed.

TeliaSonera is Findland's largest telco. At the end of December 2003 TeliaSonera had 12 million mobile customers, eight million fixed-line customers and 1.6 million Internet customers.

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