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August 4 2015

Employee Privacy and Protection of Trade Secrets at Odds in Finland

Significant security threats often come from within: according to a security risk study by the Finnish Central Chamber of Commerce (2012), around 20% of large Finnish companies reported that a former employee had illegally copied files and confidential information during employment. Some 20% of the companies did not even know whether such infringements had taken place. Statistics suggest that companies rarely act on their suspicions. These results are very likely a reflection of strict Finnish privacy laws, which make internal security threats quite difficult to monitor. A company considering acting on its suspicions also faces significant legal barriers, often making it difficult to prove malpractice. Without effective rules prescribing acceptable grounds and procedures for internal investigations, Finnish companies will remain largely impotent to fully safeguard their trade secrets.