| Laura Halminen |
|Exposed||Finland/Defense Forces Message Center|
|Interests|| • cybersecurity|
Halminen has been a journalist since 2000. She has asked authorities to answer citizens' questions in social media and says she understands the need for security authorities to encrypt information, but also encouraged citizens to reveal state secrets in social media by challenging authorities in their work.
The Secret Behind the Cliff
In December 2017, Laura Halminen co-authored a story entitled The Secret Behind the Cliff with the editor of Helsingin Sanomat, Tuomo Pietiläinen. This report was based on classified documents from as far back as 1999. It revealed the existence of the Defense Forces Message Center, a sophisticated electronic interception station in the northern suburbs of Jyväskylä, a city in central Finland. It reported that Finnish intelligence services had operated a top-secret mass surveillance program there for years. One focus was the maneuvers of Russian military units in the St. Petersburg area, but the newspaper’s editors argued that the same technology may have been used domestically to track the movements of Finnish citizens. The Finnish government reacted angrily to the story, accusing the newspaper of “revealing the content of highly classified documents” that are “critical to the [country’s] security and may cause grave damage to it”.
Subsequent Police Raid
Finnish Police raided Halminen's home, reportedly without a warrant - claiming that in cases of "national security", it was not required. Halminen used a hammer to try to destroy the data on her computer's hard disk. The police said she was suspected of imperilling "national security".