Iceland’s Parliament passed the so-called “Mila bill” today with 33 votes in favour, RÚV reports. Fifteen MPs abstained from voting, all members of the opposition. The bill is intended to ensure national security in light of the sale of Iceland’s telecommunications company Míla to French fund management company Ardian.
Míla, which owns and operates nationwide telecommunications systems, was sold to Ardian last year. All of Iceland’s homes, businesses, and institutions are serviced by Míla’s systems, and many expressed concern that such important infrastructure was being sold to a foreign company. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has called telecommunications infrastructure “a key issue for public security in every society.”
Ardian’s purchase of Míla was discussed in the National Security Council and new legislation was drafted, with the stated goal of strengthening and securing the legal basis for electronic communication with regard to national security. Helga Vala Helgadóttir, MP for the Social-Democratic Alliance, has argued that there were many red flags in the government’s handling of the case and that the legislation did not ensure consumer security.
The newly-passed bill, introduced last term by then-Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, amends the Electronic Communications Act, legislation governing the Electronic Communications Office of Iceland (ECOI), and legislation on foreign investment in business operations.