The content of thousands of various technical devices has been picked apart by the Finnish police in connection with a number of offences. Authorities try to harvest possible clues from computers, mobile phones, cameras and memory sticks in their search for incriminating e-mails, social media posts, photos and videos. Under Finnish law, however, a person suspected of an offense does not need to help the police gain access to the stored data by providing them with password or a PIN code to the device. On the other hand, the police are not allowed to damage personal property.
"Different devices have different degrees of protection nowadays. However, we have methods to bypass protection. By all means, let us try and succeed more often," Sami Siurola, chief inspector of National Bureau of Investigation told Finland's national broadcaster Yle.
In Finland, police officers may take possession of technical equipment for the transmission of data. After the search, the device must without undue delay be returned to the owner. If a search cannot be performed immediately, the device is confiscated.
According to the eastern Finnish newspaper Savon Sanomat, the number of complaints lodged is double what it was the year before.
"Any police operation is based on the principle of least harm. Nothing is to be messed up or infringed upon, unless absolutely necessary. If something is accidentally broken, the police are liable," Juha Korhonen, investigation director of the Eastern Finland Police Department told Savon Sanomat.