• Sweden edition
 
BIG BROTHER SOCIETY?
'Yes' to surveillance law

'Yes' to surveillance law

Published: 18 Jun 2008 21:33 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Jun 2008 21:33 GMT+02:00

The vote, one of the most divisive in Sweden in recent years, had initially been scheduled for early Wednesday but was postponed after more than one-third of MPs voted to send the bill back to parliament's defence committee "for further preparation."

After the committee required that the centre-right government safeguard individual rights further in an annex to the law to be voted on in the autumn, the bill narrowly passed with 143 votes in favour, 138 opposed and one parliamentarian abstaining.

Critics have slammed the proposal as an attack on civil liberties that would create a "big brother" state, while supporters say it is necessary to protect the country from foreign threats.

The new law, set to take effect on January 1st, 2009, will enable the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) -- a civilian agency despite its name -- to tap all cross-border Internet and telephone communication.

But although the government said only cross-border communications would be monitored, all communications risk getting caught in the net since some internet servers are located abroad and FRA would need to check all emails to determine whether they have crossed the border.

Under the current law, FRA is only allowed to monitor military radio communications.

The Defence Ministry, which hammered out the proposal, insists the new legislation is necessary in today's changed world, where communications are increasingly transmitted through fibre-optic cables.

The government holds a slim seven-seat majority in parliament, and with the left-wing opposition vehemently opposed to the proposal, just four "no" votes within the coalition could have sunk it.

A number of the coalition members had voiced deep concern about the bill before Wednesday's revision was made, while opponents in parliament, along with hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the building, faced a nervy wait for the result.

"This law is rotten to the core. (It) is about violating integrity. Regardless of what words they use, it will do exactly that," one of the demonstrators, 32-year-old Magdalena Berg from Gothenburg, told Swedish public radio.

Critics of the new law, including human rights activists, journalists, lawyers and even the former head of the Swedish intelligence agency Säpo, had before Wednesday's revision argued that it did not go far enough in safeguarding individual rights.

Unlike police, FRA will, for instance, not be required to seek a court order to begin surveillance.

The government on Wednesday insisted it had addressed these concerns with the last-minute revisions to the law that among other things added further independent and parliamentary controls to FRA's work.

Former Säpo chief Anders Eriksson, who currently heads up the Swedish Commission on Security and Integrity Protection, was not impressed.

"I think the law needs to be re-written. It is not enough to create a few checks and balances ... It is the law itself there is something wrong with," he told Swedish radio before the vote.

Today's headlines
Society
Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake
Ing-Marie Olofsson whose necklace was found. Photo: Private

Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake

A 66-year-old Swedish woman got the surprise of her life when a fisherman returned the necklace she dropped in a lake at the age of 14. READ  

International
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos

A British newspaper has apologised after a freelance journalist stole a Sweden's Next Top Model contestant's photo and created a fake Twitter account used to trick a UK minister. READ  

Sport
Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash
Photo: AP

Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash

Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes due to a nagging heel problem, the French club have confirmed. READ  

National
Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears
The Infection Clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: TT

Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears

A patient in a Stockholm hospital who was suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus was given the all clear on Tuesday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
A Jas Gripen. Photo: TT

New coalition agrees on defence and migration

UPDATED: The Green Party has committed itself to expanding Sweden's defence force, while the Social Democrats have compromised on work permits for migrants. READ  

National
Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden
The patient is being treated at the Karolinska University Hospital. Photo: TT

Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden

Doctors in Stockholm are checking a patient suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus. READ  

Elections 2014
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
Björn Söder. Photo: TT

Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot

Despite most Members of Parliament abstaining from voting, Sweden Democrat party secretary Björn Söder has been announced as one of Sweden's new Deputy Speakers. READ  

Music
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Swedish singer Tove Lo. Photo: TT

The five best Swedish songs of the month

The Local's resident music guru Paul Connolly is back with another selection of his favourite Swedish tracks. READ  

International
Swedish model in hiding after UK politician sting
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Swedish model in hiding after UK politician sting

A Swedish model whose photo was used in a British tabloid newspaper sting without her permission has described the incident as "something terrible". READ  

Society
Swedish artist has 'racist' show cancelled
Park's work Hang-on Afrobians. The Local has altered the image to hide the men's identities

Swedish artist has 'racist' show cancelled

Plans for works by controversial Swedish artist Dan Park to be shown in a secret location in Copenhagen have been shelved by the radio station that was behind the project. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Gallery
Property of the week - Torslanda
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
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

866
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