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Sweden’s New Surveillance Law

2. July 2008 – 14:38 by Orebro University

Sweden has recently been in the international news for issues related to government surveillance versus privacy.

Last week, a controversial law was passed enabling the FRA (translated into English as the National Defense Radio Establishment) to collect any and all traffic crossing the Swedish borders. Earlier, only suspicion of crime would allow the FRA to listen in. While technically limited to international communications, any internal Swedish communication that might cross the border back and forth on its way through the Internet could be collected.

The law aroused public outrage, and some MPs broke the party line and voted against it. Nonetheless, after some amendments were made, it passed. The changes include a committee that must okay the FRA to listen in (there will be a need for a reason), and the Data Inspection Board will inspect FRA activities to make sure that the privacy and protection of sources laws are followed.

However, the criticism has not stopped. Opponents believe these changes are not enough and the law is excessively invasive into people’s privacy. Neighboring countries have also complained this law will allow surveillance of most of their citizen’s communications.

For more coverage (in English) see this website. Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Swedish Parliament Building

Stockholm, Capital of Sweden

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  1. 3 Responses to “Sweden’s New Surveillance Law”

  2. By Rolf Luehrs on Jul 3, 2008

    Currently we are facing several attempts both on the national and on the European level to have more top down control about what is published and communicated via the Internet. My impression is that the drafting process of the respective legislations is not always sufficiently based on mature knowledge about the very nature of the Internet. This seem to be the case for the Swedish surveillance law which Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, commented as follows: “By introducing these new measures, the Swedish government is following the examples set by governments ranging from China and Saudi Arabia to the US government’s widely criticised eavesdropping programme.” (via: https://euobserver.com/19/26407). Another example is the EU Report on concentration and pluralism in the media in the European Union (https://tinyurl.com/58xtdb), drafted by Estonian MEP Marianne Mikko, who proposed to register and bill all European bloggers, in order have a “certain disclosure of who is writing and why”(via: https://euobserver.com/19/26407).

    The most actual example for a disputed regulation with considerable impact on the Internet is the Reform of the European law on electronic communications (Telecom Package), which will be under consideration in the European Parliament by July 7th. This is, however, worth a new blog post coming up soon.

  3. By Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH) on Jul 10, 2008

    Many Swedes seem to be angry about this law. Over 6 million protest emails were send to political representatives up till now:

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