• 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)

Today's headlines
Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Politics
Israel's ambassador recalled from Sweden
Israeli ambassador Isaac Bachman. Photo: TT

Israel's ambassador recalled from Sweden

Israel called home its ambassador from Stockholm "in irritation" on the same day that Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

National
Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe
The ship was rescued on Thursday. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe

After fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil could sink in Stockholm's archipelago, Sweden's Coast Guard said the vessel had been towed to safety. READ  

National
Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal
A scene from a video of the attack published by Dagens Nyheter

Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal

A policewoman accused of letting her dog attack a drunk man while she repeatedly hit him with a baton, has had her conviction overturned by a court in Stockholm. READ  

Entertainment
What's On: October 31st - November 7th
Uma Thurman will soon be on her way to Stockholm. Photo: TT

What's On: October 31st - November 7th

Halloween fun and an international film festival are the big events hitting Stockholm this week. We cast our eye over the capital and the rest of the country for the best activities to check out this week. READ  

International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Politics
Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Sweden's Foreign Minister is Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially decided to recognize Palestine, with the move announced in a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 

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 »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
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
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
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
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
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
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

970
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