• Sweden edition
 
'Orwellian law must be stopped'
Photo: Faisal Enayat Khan

'Orwellian law must be stopped'

Published: 18 Jun 2008 11:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Jun 2008 11:44 GMT+02:00

Despite some cosmetic changes, Sweden's proposed surveillance law is still a monster, writes Pär Ström from the independent New Welfare Foundation.

"The critics won", is the messgage from certain media outlets after it emerged that the FRA (Försvarets Radioanstalt - Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment) surveillance bill would be sent back to the parliamentary defence committee to enable the inclusion of certain "privacy guarantees".

But in fact nobody has won. We have instead witnessed politicians hoodwinking their citizens.

A monster with make-up is still a monster and "Swechelon", or Sweden's Echelon, must be stopped.

It is not yet certain how exactly the amendments to "Lex Orwell" will look. But the primary changes seem to be that: the Swedish Data Inspection Board will be tasked with monitoring FRA's surveillance; a parliamentary committee will also be appointed to watch the watchers; and FRA will be give a somewhat more limited remit regarding what it may and may not monitor. Mention has also been made of two new agencies: one to authorize surveillance and another to check on FRA's activities.

But on the whole these are no more than marginal adjustments. The basic idea remains unchanged.

FRA will still be able to conduct mass surveillance of law-abiding citizens' communications without need for a court order. It will be able to read people's emails and text messages, listen to their conversations, see which websites they are visiting, create "sociograms" that map out the friends people have. And so on.

It's just as absurd as it was before. It still runs counter to Article 12 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It's still going to create a society characterized by self-censorship and concern. It's still going to make people fearful of contacting journalists to report abuses of power. Et cetera.

The government's idea now is to push the revised proposal through at breakneck speed. Somewhat like what they tried to do with the original draft bill. The Riksdag could vote the bill into law as early as this evening or tomorrow before people have come to the realization that the changes are a decoy. It bears repeating: "Swechelon" must be stopped!

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian drag mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian drag mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Good weather could blight Easter traffic
Easter traffic two years ago on the E4 motorway. File: Jessica Gow/TT

Good weather could blight Easter traffic

Traffic experts have cautioned Swedes heading to the countryside for what should be a sunny Easter, warning that the most serious accidents often take place when the weather is clement. READ () »

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia
Jas Gripen jets in flight. File photo: TT

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to rent out fighter jets to Malaysia. READ () »

What's On in Sweden

What's On in Sweden

Check out what's happening with The Local's guide to the main attractions and events in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö - in association with DoToday. READ () »

Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV
Grossed out Ica woman at Easter dinner. Screengrab from Ica

Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV

A Swedish supermarket has decided to withdraw its Easter commercial, after Christians complained it made a mockery of communion - "They crossed the line." Sweden's advertising watchdog will now look into the case. READ () »

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut
The search and rescue operation in northern Sweden. File photo: TT

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut

The 22-year-old man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in northern Sweden had his sentence reduced on Wednesday, in part due to his "peculiar personality". READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Advertisement:
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
Society
'Blondes have more brains': Swedish study
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

748
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