Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Timo Soini said there is a need to create a global set of rules in the area of cyberspace and on issues of what should not be allowed on internet such as child pornography. In an interview with Sunny Verma during a visit to India last week, Soini, who participated in the Global Conference on Cyberspace in New Delhi, said cyber security is of utmost importance in today’s digital age. Edited excerpts:
What are the areas in which Finland can cooperate with India in field of cyber security and framing of internet rules?
It’s (cyber security) a growing industry in many ways and I think it’s very important that we agree to rules. What should we prevent all over the world (from being put on the internet). In case of human rights, the charter of United Nations should be respected in that (social) media as well as in other media. It’s really powerful media and it could be also powerful weapon and I was extremely pleased that the Indian minister who opened the (global cyberspace) conference also took the issue of child pornography and said very clearly against it. That was the moral backbone and we should also create a balance which is — the kind of phenomenon which are discussed such as child pornography — but it shouldn’t enable those people who have power to oppress the critics to get rid of open and democratic free media. Striking that balance is important. But it is increasingly growing business with lot of money.
What is your view on the discussion surrounding net neutrality?
We think that it is very important. Net neutrality is very important. If you try to puncture this then it’s a question of who does control it and what and for what reasons, what are the checks and balances.
There have been cyber attacks on Finland. What is the security mechanism in your country?
There has been some attacks but we are not sure who is in charge of those attack. It is a matter of utmost seriousness. For example, the ministry and its affairs should be protected and there should be no spying or the kind of destroying (the documents). I think that is an ongoing battle between the Finns who have been dealing with cyber security and trying to develop programmes on how to counterattack them, how to protect from them (attackers).
On the trade side, are you working to improve bilateral trade between India and Finland?
I am really satisfied that there has been progress. Three-four sectors may be on the top of the list – renewable energy, education, sustainable development and ICT.
Are you working with India to share taxpayers information?
There should be transparency at every level on what comes on taxes and tax avoidance. We want to explode all the tax heavens in the world, so that the big money pays taxes as same as the ordinary person or the small businessman.