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Swedes' emails to be stored for six months

Swedes' emails to be stored for six months

Published: 11 Nov 2010 11:12 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Nov 2010 11:12 GMT+01:00

Emails and mobile phone text messages would be stored for six months by internet service providers (ISPs), according to a bill presented by the Swedish government on Thursday to bring the country in line with EU data retention rules.

Critics have come down hard on the proposal, which would compel telephone and broadband providers to retain electronic data for six months, the shortest possible time in accordance with EU directives.

Justice Minister Beatrice Ask explained that the bill is concerned about privacy when she presented the legislative proposal on Thursday.

"The proposal means that the information can only be disclosed for crime-fighting purposes," Ask said a news conference.

The government has proposed that the law come into force on July 1st, 2011. It is part of the introduction of the disputed EU Data Retention Directive.

The directive would force member states to legislate the storage of telephone calls, text messages, email and other internet traffic. The aim is to prevent and solve crimes.

The Data Retention Directive has been severely criticised by those who believe that such rules restrict privacy protection and create a surveillance society.

Both organisations for civil rights and telephone operators have pointed out the problems with keeping an eye on individual human communication.

The goal of data storage was to acquire new weapons in the fight against terrorism, but over time, the emphasis has fallen more on serious crime on the whole.

In October, a leaked draft of recommendations on the proposed law emerged. It proposed that police and prosecutors could request information from broadband operators for IP addresses even for crimes that do not require jail time.

If it became reality, it would mean that an estimated 1 million people engaged in file sharing would no longer feel safe.

"East German society is inching closer," said Jon Karlung, chairman of broadband provider Bahnhof.

Sweden was convicted in the EU Court of Justice for not having implemented the directive in February.

The EU adopted the Data Retention Directive in March 2006. The terror attacks in Madrid in 2004 became a lever for EU governments to enforce the requirement.

The laws would force telephone and internet service providers (ISPs) to store large amounts of data for at least six months and up to two years. The data would be available if the police needed them to solve crimes.

The directive has led to violent debate at times across the EU. Many countries believe the act violates free speech.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:17 November 11, 2010 by Roy E
Big Brother is watching you.

One has to feel all warm and fuzzy and good about that!
12:30 November 11, 2010 by Syftfel
Now, why is this one asks? "The aim is to solve crimes" says the story. Does that then mean that my utter hatred and disugust with the social dems, beginning with O Palme, will be documented for six months?? Gee, I hope that it does not become illegal to be sickened by socialism in the next six months. Walter Ulbricht could indeed have fun, had he be around today. This is something Kim Jong Il, Hugo, Fidel, and their ilk would love. Come and get me.
13:05 November 11, 2010 by McChatter

Oh,oh...you made a big mistake there, using all those names. Now your mail and you will be linked to theirs. Certain "intelligent groups" (nod, nod, wink, wink, say no more) do nothing else but check mails for key names and if you use them you are automatically a suspect.

Seriouslt, though, the innocent always suffer when trust is abused. If a park is closed because of vandalism, then it's closed for everyone - not just the vandals but also innocent kids, for example. Just be grateful that they haven't stopped e-mail completely. Yet.
13:06 November 11, 2010 by sodafox
Thank god for SSL connections... hope they enjoy storing arbitry 0's and 1's..
13:50 November 11, 2010 by byke
Now, does china offer any sort of VPN's so that eu members can surf anonymously without danger and censorship ?
14:01 November 11, 2010 by Luckystrike
Funny article title...Yes only Swedish peoples emails will be stored!! No worries for any locallers :))
15:38 November 11, 2010 by asee
shouldn't be problem for people except terrorist and businessmen(who fear of leakage of their business secrets)...
16:53 November 11, 2010 by Rebel
Hey, could be worse. You could be traveling in the USA and have your breasts fondled by TSA agents.
19:19 November 11, 2010 by Swedesmith
I can't afford to travel so I have to fondle myself.
19:43 November 11, 2010 by eZee.se
"Terrorism" is the new "think of the children" to pass anything - if you disagree you are unpatriotic and probably a terrorist or terrorist wannabe, which is all the more reason the govt. needs to keep an eye on you.

Once it passes because of "terrorism" then they start talking about since its already there... perhaps X should have access to it... then Y... then Z...

What happened to privacy?

The classic answer to that is "if you have nothing to hide, you have no reason to be afraid"

well, plenty of innocent people have been falsely charged and convicted, and the right to privacy is not just for crimes, its a persons right, or perhaps we should start installing video cameras in these politicians bedrooms...(?)

This is horrible. Look at the UK, sensitive files of hundreds of thousands of people found in a laptop accidentally left on the London Underground - and that was not the first time something liek that happened.

Before you know it companies will be selling your user data to other companies, some idiot loses his USB stick with your data on it - and big corporations will just salivate to get your data so they can send you better spam...umm, promotions.

Scum from music and movie industries will try to convict people based on IP addresses using the same flawed techniques that they used to send infringement notices to printers and people who were dead at the time (google it).

All the while, the baddies and the people who value privacy will spend 50kr more to get a VPN and thus bypassing all this foolishness...
22:30 November 11, 2010 by mikewhite
The UK cases were unrelated to this; one was military personnel data, one was taxpayer data.
22:50 November 11, 2010 by coot
I feel sorry for the ISP that has to store 6 months of spam. It is a really expensive requirement.
23:01 November 11, 2010 by millionmileman
I use the Opera 10.63 browser, at least it lets me know when Janet Napolitano from Homeland Security and her minions are entering my space.
00:14 November 12, 2010 by billyb362
'European Union Data Retention Directive' -

The EU has become a disgusting superstate and a dictatorship; the Swedish government should exercise autonomy and tell the EU to respect its citizens rights to privacy; otherwise, we are all potential criminals until proven innocent.

If the politicians in Parliament in Sweden go along with this proposal, they are endorsing the EU's desire for Sweden to become a Police State...and never again will the world look at Sweden as a true democracy
01:13 November 12, 2010 by eZee.se

They were just two examples of how user data can be "misplaced", and I am sure there are many other occurrences that we have never heard of.

The fact that one of them was 'military personnel data' actually scares me more, because I would think that would be handled much more securely than 'local average Joe-you-and-me' data.

More questions are being raised with far more concern than the answers a system like this would provide.

In other words: Here the cure seems to worse than the disease.
02:35 November 12, 2010 by alex.49
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Benjamin Franklin

Spying on e-mails, telephone calls and what next ?

Sounds like a "Police state" scenario is about to begin, too bad its Sweden this time.
09:40 November 12, 2010 by Da Goat
firstly this is just going to force people to encrypt there email

and secondly who is going to trawl thru the sewage to find the diamonds

99.9% of email is absolute crap and who in their right mind would even consider this there must be imbeciles or megalomaniacs at the wheel!
18:15 November 12, 2010 by eZee.se
Here are some links explaining why this is so ineffective (it would only help stop crime with a success rate of 0.006%)


and the English translation via Google:


Just a shameful act by the powers that be to turn this beautiful country into a police state funded by the corporations.
18:34 November 12, 2010 by hogar2010
write your message for example in Word document, encrypt message with some software for encryption (you must have Public Key of person whom you write encrypted message (and your own Private Key)), you can even encrypt file after encrypting of message, you must send message (or encrypted file in the form of attachment) with email that use HTTPS and StartTLS (mail servers to talk to each other in a secure way). HTTPS means that connection is secure between your PC and mail server, StartTLS means that your email server (let's say blabla@autistici.org) use secure connection with other email server (of person whom you send message, let's say blabla@boum.org). Your friend whom you send message must also use HTTPS connection between his PC and email server. Then he download your file or encrypted message and he uses some software for decryption to read your message. Then he must have your Public Key to send to you a message in the same (encrypted) way.

Encryption helps you about all except against "eyes" behind your back or against key-loggers inside of your PC. Beside it, everything what can be encrypted, it can be also decrypted, before or later but you can buy time.
18:42 November 12, 2010 by junglecat64
George Orwell's "1984" was not a cautionary tale, it was an instruction manual.

"Crime fighting" takes on a whole new meaning in a society where you have "hate speech" laws, and also sex purchase laws whereby the client (usually a man) can be convicted bu the hooker (usually a woman or gay man) can never be convicted.

I am from Sweden, living in the US, operating an Internet business which includes operating a mail server. I would advise Swedish internet users who care about their privacy to host their domain names and e-mail accounts with non-EU (e.g. US providers) where this 6-month rule does not exist. Make sure that both your inbound AND outbound mail servers are outside of the EU.

If you believe that your government is entitled to your e-mails and you are happy to live in a surveillance society, then just ignore my advice. I am sure that the police state will impact everybody except you.
20:33 November 12, 2010 by burlison

Agree with you completely. I'm in a similar business with employees in the EU, and we always host offshore. I don't know how the laws are in Sweden; I imagine your employees are able to claim that their email conversations in a corporate situation are private and not subject to monitoring for industrial espionage, hate speech, etc.
21:05 November 12, 2010 by sgt_doom
@ #20 (junglecat64):

Well, I wouldn't be too sure about that, given that those Narus boxes appear to be connected at various sites throughout North America, and especially at all the IXPs, which give them extraordinary intercept capabilities.

And as Orwellian as things are today -- especially in English-speaking countries (USA, UK, Australia, etc.), I suspect it is more Huxley's Brave New World scenario, where we are hit with a constant stream of misinformation and disinformation in our daily lives.
23:32 November 12, 2010 by Talking_Dog
The "free" world will never learn from the former communist states: Oh, excuse me, they did... piles and piles of files for the great computer is most effectively used for the persecution of political enemies and oppression of opposition groups not the maintenance of "national security". Let them collect and store everything. Everyone in Sweden should have at least 3 or 4 international pen pals! The bureaucrats will ultimately learn that the security of a nation is often best served by old fashioned street pounding and not continuous surveillance of the whole country.

'nuff said

Talking Dog --Texas
00:43 November 13, 2010 by Defiledmoose
Don`t know if they do this in the UK? And I live here!!

If it`s used to keep track of security threats or potential theft,then that`s fine with me chaps..
11:59 November 13, 2010 by ameribrit
Anyone on here KNOW if the Blackberry system is still a secure set up that prevents big brother horning in? I know it was a couple of years ago.
12:40 November 13, 2010 by eZee.se
Don't be stingy, 5 euros a month gets you a nice VPN connection that can be setup and used to bypass this silliness in less than a minute- the only thing you then have to worry about is keyloggers (unlikely - but you should be protected from that right now anyway).

Buy a couple of months in advance and its going to cost you even less than 5 euros a month.
18:45 November 13, 2010 by junglecat64
@burlison and @sgt_doom :

Burlison, I doubt I can claim exemption from any law based on that it is "business confidential" or private. But given that I don't even let the fire inspector into my office here in Florida, they can just try to get at my e-mails for purposes of stopping "hate speech". Just try.

And I am serious about the fire inspector. I don't need some jackwagon telling me that we need a fire extinguisher at a certain height on the wall, and that said entinguisher(s) needs to be inspected once a year for $30 or $50 or whatever it is. I simply don't let the inspector in. I tell them: get a court order. They never do.

sgt_doom's point about the gov't surveillance in the US (Narus boxes) is a good one. W killed the Constitution and Obama is burying it. Don't get me started. But this article was about a proposed law requiring ISP's in Sweden to store the info. Now if the Swedish gov't wants to listen on in in the connection as a user in Sweden connects to a US mail server to send or receive mail and then store that e-mail, sure, they can do that. But again, the proposed law talks about Swedish ISP's storing it.

Now if the US gov't listens in and sees an e-mail that says "oj så mycket jag fuskade på skatten i år" (boy did I ever cheat on my taxes a lot year), they are unlikely to say "we will pass that on to the Swedes to see if there is a crime.

On our server, the user controls who long they want already picked up e-mails to be stored. Most users don't store once they picked up their e-mail. For outbound mail, we don't store a copy.

So few people see the inverse correlation between surveillance and economic growth and economic health. Even the Albanians figured that one out.
16:22 November 20, 2010 by bira
1984! Here we come! @junglecat...you got it! The US population should understand this stuff and what's going on in Europe because they continue to try to erode away the rights of citizens here as well. BTW, also a Swede living in the US.
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