Finland is not part of Scandinavia.
It’s not on the Scandinavian peninsula, nor do Finns speak one of the Scandinavian languages, which are Germanic. Finland is on a peninsula along the Gulf of Finland and Finns speak Finnish, which is a Uralic language — like Hungarian and a handful of other languages.
But Finland is Nordic, which comes from the word Norden, which just means “The North.” Sweden, Norway, Denmark and all their associated territories are Nordic, too. Hence, the confusion.
Wikipedia notes, “The Nordic countries cluster near the top in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development.”
But what does it mean to be Nordic?
In The Nordic Theory of Everything, Finnish-born journalist Anu Partanen writes about the culture shock she experienced moving to America. You, and likely many Finns, may not agree with her assessments of the difference between the two cultures. But she presents an interesting concept that she feels drives Finland and Nordic countries’ generous investments in education and the social safety net. Partanen calls it the “Nordic theory of love,” and the core idea “is that authentic love and friendship are possible only between individuals who are independent and equal.”
This concept that everyone should be “independent and equal” is what I — an American who has visited Finland a few times a year for the last half of a decade — would call “the Nordic Edge.”
And that edge is behind why F-Secure keeps being recognized by independent analysts as offering its customers the “best protection” possible. Even more significantly, I believe it explains the company and its fellows’ unflinching approach to privacy.
F-Secure is a Finnish company operating under Finnish jurisdiction. It stores all data in Finland, and all of its services are managed according to Finnish jurisdiction.
Here’s why that matters.
Finland was the first country in the world to pass a law that says access broadband is a right. Its laws go out of the way to protect the privacy of job applicants. In Finland, companies are under no obligation to submit information to the authorities – unlike, for example, companies based in the USA, where they can be legally obliged to hand over a private user’s information to the authorities.
That’s the “Nordic Edge” written into law. But at F-Secure, it’s just business as usual.
While F-Secure does respect court orders when it comes to illegal activities, it doesn’t sell customer data to anyone. The only data collected is for service purposes and users can opt out. No unnecessary information or spying on customers ever. Other security companies may monetize their customer data, but F-Secure will not.
To me, F-Secure sees customers not as dollar signs but as equal and independent participants in a relationship. And that respect for individuals’ rights gives F-Secure the Nordic Edge.