• Sweden edition
 
SWEDEN SAYS
Swedish press slams proposed surveillance law

Swedish press slams proposed surveillance law

Published: 13 Jun 2008 20:14 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jun 2008 20:14 GMT+02:00

There are few, if any, supportive voices in the mainstream Swedish press when it comes to the controversial surveillance bill set to be debated in the Riksdag on June 17th.

Every major newspaper addressing the issue this week on their opinion pages condemns the measure, and urges politicians to vote against it when the time comes.

The bill would give Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets Radioanstalt - FRA) enhanced authority to monitor all emails and telephone calls which cross Sweden’s borders.

In calling for the proposal to be voted down, the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper examines two aspects which it finds particularly troubling.

First, the paper points out the slippery slope facing FRA when it comes to interpreting just how far the agency’s powers are extended by changing its mandate from monitoring “external military threats” to monitoring “external threats” of all kinds.

“The term is so diffuse that it becomes open for free interpretation. The other ‘external threats’ named—such as migration flows, epidemics, and oil spills—illustrate this,” writes GP.

“No matter how many threats are taken into consideration, it’s nevertheless doubtful that they are really so great that they legitimize the infringement on privacy which is now upon us.”

And while GP acknowledges that the proposal has new requirements designed to protect the privacy of individuals, such as the need for further regulations on when surveillance can happen and how permission will be handed out, it doubts whether the measures are sufficient.

“The fact remains that the controlling apparatus which will manage the handing out of permission and its review is inadequate. The Armed Forces’ intelligence board will deal with both of these questions,” the paper explains.

“An advance examination and a follow-up review don’t at all correspond to the independent judicial review which the Ministry of Justice, among others, required earlier in its consultation response. And that those responsible for operations will be gathered in a privacy protection board placed within FRA and which will review itself is of little value from a rule of law perspective.”

GP also finds it “incomprehensible” that the government didn’t take advantage of the time afforded by the delay put on the bill last year to work on creating a better proposal which addressed critics' concerns about a “controversial question of national security”.

It hopes that Riksdag members wrestling with the issue ahead of the vote, such as the Centre Party’s Fredrik Federley, will “realize the importance of being faithful to their personal opinions” before it is too late.

The Sydsvenskan newspaper entitles its short commentary “Sound scepticism toward surveillance” and cites a Sveriges Radio interview given by the leader of the Centre Party’s youth wing, who has come out strongly against the proposal.

“It’s about citizens being able to keep what’s theirs to themselves while the state should be transparent. Now it’s beginning to change and I think that feels unpleasant,” said Andersson.

Sydsvenskan sums things up thusly:

“The law’s publicized intent is to protect Sweden from outside threats. But it risks being transformed into an inner threat.”

In its analysis, Svenksa Dagbladet (SvD) starts off by questioning the gravity of the terrorist threat facing Sweden.

“Do we find ourselves in a situation where the threat from border-crossing terrorism and criminality trumps the luxury of holding onto principles?” asks SvD.

In SvD’s estimation, the answer to the question isn’t exactly in the affirmative. The paper sees those who support the proposed law as adhering to a hawk’s world view, and in clinging to their belief that threats lurk around every corner, these hawks actually have more in common with pacifists than they’d like to admit.

Both, argues SvD, often get stuck on “autopilot” and forget to make adjustments to changing conditions:

“The pacifist’s hardened opposition against war—irrespective of the situation—is just as naïve and inhuman as the hawk’s standing demand that we should “take responsibility” for every terrible thing that could happen—even if it costs us exactly the thing that the hawk wants to protect: an open society.”

At the end of the day, SvD is sceptical as to whether the threat level facing Sweden justifies the price society stands to pay for the protections afforded by the surveillance law:

“The hope is that a number of Riksdag members will shut down the autopilot, write up their plus and minus lists, and afterwards, release their principle-laden fingers and vote no.”

Where the main newspapers stand:

Dagens Nyheter, "independently liberal", Stockholm-based, owned by the Bonnier family.

Svenska Dagbladet, "independently liberal-conservative",

Stockholm-based, owned by Norwegian media company Schibsted.

Göteborgs-Posten, "independently liberal",

Gothenburg-based, owned by the Stampen media group.

Sydsvenska Dagbladet (Sydsvenskan), "independently liberal", Malmö-based, owned by the Bonnier family.

Aftonbladet, "independently Social Democrat", Stockholm-based, owned by trade union federation LO and Norwegian media company Schibsted.

Expressen, "independently liberal", Stockholm-based, owned by the Bonnier family.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Ebola crisis
Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund
Photo: TT

Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund

Sweden has offered a new sizeable contribution to the fund set up by UN chief Ban K-moon to fight the Ebola outbreak. READ  

Society
'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme
Photo: Lars-Göran Thuresson/Älgriket

'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme

The Swedish hunting association runs a project to encourage young asylum-seekers to learn about hunting, a move which has proved controversial among some far right groups. READ  

Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

Neo-Nazi attacks
Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian
Police intervene after neo-Nazis attack an anti-Nazi rally in Kärrtorp, December 2013. Photo: Hampus Andersson/TT

Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian

A Stockholm court has cleared three neo-Nazis of stabbing a Nigerian man in an unprovoked attack. But two of the men will face jail after they were convicted of racial agitation at a riot. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

979
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN