• Sweden edition
 
SURVEILLANCE LAW
'Snoop law bad for Swedish business'

'Snoop law bad for Swedish business'

Published: 10 Jul 2008 12:24 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Jul 2008 12:24 GMT+02:00

Sweden has long had a good reputation as an open and growth-oriented nation. This has contributed to making our country an attractive place both in which to live and conduct business.

But the new surveillance law put forward by the Swedish government is causing a great deal of concern and alarm among many parts of our society, and the government’s handling of reactions to the new law has generated little or no confidence.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is calling for calm and sees no reason for alarm. But unfortunately there are legitimate grounds for concern with regard to the likely effects of the signals intelligence law, not just in relation to the privacy of Swedish citizens.

The business consequences of the law are likely to hinder the entire Swedish IT sector and seriously jeopardize Sweden’s good reputation as a leading nation in the fields of knowledge and IT.

Swedish companies are participating and prospering in an ever more globalised world and are increasingly selling their services on the international market. In order to avoid impairing Swedish competitiveness it is vital that Sweden steers clear of regulations that deviate from the EU norm. In fact, Sweden should work towards achieving a harmonised regulatory environment within the European Union.

The new signals intelligence law is one obvious example of how special Swedish regulations can have directly negative effects on Swedish business as a whole. Reactions and consequences have been instant – both in Sweden and abroad.

Sweden is one of the most prominent internet nations in the world and is an important transit country for much of Norway’s, Finland’s and Russia’s internet traffic. The forthcoming signals intelligence law has provoked reactions from customers in all of these countries.

Inevitably, foreign telecommunication customers will decamp from Sweden and stop using Swedish companies when routing their internet traffic.

One example is the market leading Swedish-Finnish telecom company TeliaSonera, which has already responded to the requests of its Finnish customers by moving its Finnish e-mail and web servers from Swedish to Finnish territory.

Another example is the Internet service provider Three (3), which is under pressure to consider solutions that exclude Sweden in order to safeguard the privacy of its Danish customers.

A third example is the successful Swedish mobile e-mail supplier Momail, which is considering relocating abroad as a direct result of the signals intelligence law. This will mean fewer job opportunities and fewer investments in Sweden.

The Swedish legislation will also create large and unnecessary costs for the Swedish telecom industry. The signals intelligence law states that service providers shall bear all the costs, both fixed and variable, for leading their massive data streams to the information intelligence agency’s so-called “concurrence points”.

The government wrote in its legislative proposal that the effects for the telecom industry will be cost neutral, meaning that costs will affect all relevant service providers equally. This is not true.

The telecom industry is – both at a national and international level – an extremely competitive industry with very low margins, and the Swedish government is now forcing Swedish telecom companies to bear costs that their European competitors do not need to take into account. Views proportionally, smaller service providers will be hit more severely by the law.

Taken as a whole, Swedish telecom companies will have a distinct competitive disadvantage in comparison to their foreign competitors.

The aforementioned consequences may seem serious enough to call into question the value of the signals intelligence law. But what most worries the Swedish IT industry is the obvious risk that Sweden’s reputation as a prominent knowledge and IT nation will be seriously devalued. What is at stake is Sweden’s ability to compete on the global market.

Indications are pouring in from all quarters that Sweden may no longer be seen as an attractive market for IT investments.

Foreign IT companies have become hesitant about future investments in the Swedish market; important Swedish industries such as telecommunication and data storage are seeing their attractiveness on the international market diminish, and even Swedish IT companies are considering moves overseas.

Google has indicated a possible retreat, or at least a down-scaling of its presence on the Swedish market.

The Norwegian government is seriously concerned and has tasked the national post and telecommunications agency with investigating the possible impact of the law on Norwegian interests. An equivalent investigation was carried out by Finnish authorities in 2007.

The Norwegian IT and telecommunications industry association IKT-Norge also sees obvious risks and has asked the Norwegian government to consider urging Norwegian interests to avoid storing data with suppliers operating out of Sweden. Similar concerns have also been expressed by the Danish telecommunications industry association Telekommunikationsindustrien.

The concerns outlined above have already had very real consequences for Swedish competitiveness. Sweden’s position as one of the leading knowledge and IT nations is under threat regardless of whether or not the Prime Minister believes that the law has been misunderstood.

Few dispute the need for a functioning information intelligence agency, but the damage caused by the signals intelligence law will have severe implications for Swedish industry. Why should Sweden have the most far-reaching information intelligence legislation in Europe, and possibly the world?

We are waiting for the government to listen seriously to our concerns. What we would like is an answer to the question we have been asking ourselves: is the signals intelligence law really worth the cost?

Anne-Marie Fransson, Director General Swedish IT and Telecom Industries Association

Anders Bruse, CEO TeliaSonera Sweden

Johan Lindgren, CEO Telenor Sweden

Lars Glarborg, Deputy CEO TDC Sweden

Niclas Palmstierna, CEO Tele2 Sweden

Peder Ramel, CEO Hi3G (3)

Roger Söderberg, CEO BT Nordics

Tomas Franzén, CEO Com Hem

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Late summer sun set to hit Sweden

Late summer sun set to hit Sweden

Forecasters have predicted sunshine across Sweden this week, with a warm front moving in from Russia and temperatures of up to 25C. READ  

International police hunt
Swedish killer arrested after European hunt
Photo: Police

Swedish killer arrested after European hunt

UPDATED: Police arrested a man on Tuesday afternoon after he went missing from a psychiatric ward in western Sweden at the weekend. The man had been convicted of murdering a five-year-old schoolgirl in 2003. READ  

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

The five best Swedish songs of the month

The summer may be (almost) over but the music will keep on playing here at The Local. Our resident music guru Paul Connolly will be selecting his top new Swedish tracks for us in a new monthly feature. READ  

Hedgehog pet craze sweeps Sweden

Hedgehog pet craze sweeps Sweden

African pygmy hedgehogs are being bought by growing numbers of Swedes, as a trend for keeping exotic pets sweeps the country, the Department for Animal Welfare and Health tells The Local. READ  

Poisonous mushrooms cause stir in Sweden
The mushroom in this picture is not the same as the one from the story. Photo: Shutterstock

Poisonous mushrooms cause stir in Sweden

A person selling freshly-picked mushrooms in Gothenburg has come under fire after it turned out the delicacies were not only poisonous but also hallucinogenic. READ  

Pirate Bay founder case starts in confusion

Pirate Bay founder case starts in confusion

The largest hacking case in Danish history began in confusion on Tuesday, after lawyers representing Swedish Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg accused the prosecution of "unreasonable" tactics. READ  

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

As H&M expands into Ethiopia, Sweden's state venture capital unit Swedfund has announced that it will back the clothing giant, in a move hoped to create more jobs for local women. READ  

Elections 2014
Social Democrats reveal election manifesto
Photo: TT

Social Democrats reveal election manifesto

UPDATED: Sweden's main opposition party the Social Democrats has revealed its election manifesto at a press conference at a high school in Stockholm, with a key focus on education and welfare benefits. READ  

Teen run over by train after 'shoplifting' chase

Teen run over by train after 'shoplifting' chase

A teenage boy is in a critical condition after he was hit by a passing metro train in Stockholm. The accident ground rail traffic to a halt, and has police suspecting attempted murder. READ  

Swimrun
Record win at Sweden's tough island race
Photo: Jakob Edholm/ÖTILLÖ14

Record win at Sweden's tough island race

Two Swedes crushed last year's course record at the Swimrun world championship in Stockholm's archipelago on Monday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
National
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Politics
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Blog updates

02 September

America night (Blogweiser) »

" There was an event this weekend for the ‘Americans in Sweden’ Facebook group. I’m a member, and I brought my girls to the evening. The gathering was at a Boston-themed sportsbar in a mall. There were loads of screens, a bowling alley, a game room and a jumbotron. It was as good a place as any to..." READ »

 

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Society
Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
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

757
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