• Sweden's news in English
 

Sweden aids NSA-led hacking ops: report

Published: 11 Dec 2013 07:49 GMT+01:00

The documents, reviewed by Svergies Television (SVT) investigative news programme Uppdrag Granskning, show that Sweden's signals intelligence agency, the National Defence Radio Establishment (Svenska Försvarets radioanstalt - FRA) worked with the US National Security Agency (NSA) in its efforts to gain unauthorized access to computers.

An internal NSA memo from a planned meeting between Swedish and US spy chiefs in April 2013 explains that the Swedes wanted to be updated on operation "Winterlight (Quantum Project)".

While it's unclear to what Winterlight refers, Quantum is known as a powerful system for hacking into computers.Computers are hijacked, information is collected, and then sent on for analysis. The leaked documents from Snowden testify that the programme has been used against Belgian telecoms operator Belgacom, which has EU institutions as customers. The breach is under investigation by police.

The NSA memo explains that the US spy agency cooperates with FRA and their UK counterpart GCHQ in the hacker attacks. The Swedish intelligence agency fired "100 shots, of which five successful have been redirected to GCHQ's servers".While the British agency is planning to pull out of the programme over concerns it may violate UK law, officials at the NSA seem unconcerned.

"The fact is that NSA's goal the entire time has been to transfer this work to a bilateral agreement with the Swedish partners," the document reads.

BACKGROUND: Sweden sits on pipeline of 'intelligence gold'

The hacking is controversial in Sweden. In 2010, then FRA-head Ingvar Åkesson assured the Riksdag defence committee that FRA was not involved in hacking and that doing so would be illegal.

"We have authorization from the Defence Intelligence Court (Försvarsunderrättelsedomstolen) for the data collection we carry out," current FRA spokesman Fredrik Wallin told SVT in response to the new revelations.

FRA also has access to the NSA's most powerful surveillance system, the wide-ranging Xkeyscore, the leaked documents show. It has been described as a "Google for spies" and the NSA claims it reaches "nearly everything a regular internet user does" in real time and a short time back, including email, Facebook entries, chats, web surfing history, and more.

"With this tool, I can get at anyone in the world if I just have the person's email address," Snowden said in a previous interview.

FRA's statutes say that the agency can only spy on foreign targets, but Xkeyscore also reaches Swedes. A leaked manual from the NSA describes how it happens: "In this example, I'm looking for anyone in Sweden that visited a certain extremist forum on the web."

Hacking can be compared with how one "during analogue times" gained access to communication systems and cracked codes, Lund University intelligence analysis professor Wilhelm Agrell explained.

But the law has lagged behind.

"Sweden only gets to share some of the intelligence that we've collected for our national needs and should keep a close eye on the information that's handed over to foreign powers. But joint operations aren't covered by the law. The closer the relationship, the harder it is to stay within the limits of the law," Agrell told the TT news agency.

"This doesn't leave the legal and political oversight of the Swedish intelligence system with very high marks."

BACKGROUND:  Sweden passes divisive wiretapping law

FRA cannot check information from a hacking operation that is funneled through British servers, Agrell believed.

"It's not about the information that's processed and reviewed before it goes on to a foreign power. It's clear that's not the case. That's where we get closer to a situation where it must be subject to judicial approval," he said.

Agrell also wondered if FRA, through Xkeyscore, could get around the law and receive intelligence about conditions in Sweden from foreign partners.

"When you carry out intelligence work together in an integrated system, the FRA law appears to be a rather thin and flimsy support to lean on to secure the rights of citizens," he added.

DON'T MISS:  Swedes 'not afraid' of internet surveillance

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

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish broadcaster sends porn to children
A child with a mobile device. Photo: Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se

Swedish broadcaster sends porn to children

Sweden's tax-funded public broadcaster SVT has apologized to parents after it accidentally sent an SMS to 60 children which included a link to a pornographic site. READ  

The Local List
Are these the five worst places to live in Sweden?
Högsby has been named as the worst place to live in Sweden. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Are these the five worst places to live in Sweden?

Sweden is a great place to be, from its vibrant capital to cute, picturesque towns in the countryside. But even within this Nordic paradise, there are some real dumps. Here's our guide to the five municipalities that ended up at the bottom of an annual ranking of places to live in Sweden. READ  

Swedish dads told to take more paternity leave
A Swedish Dad with his children. Photo: Carolina Romara/Image Bank Sweden

Swedish dads told to take more paternity leave

UPDATED: Plans to introduce a third month of paid parental leave reserved for fathers are set to be introduced in 2016, the Swedish government has revealed, in a bid to further increase gender equality. READ  

Spring boost for Swedish economy revealed
Shoppers in Stockholm. Photo: Simon Paulin/TT

Spring boost for Swedish economy revealed

Sweden's economy grew by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2015, and was up 2.5 percent on the same period a year ago, according to figures released on Friday. But Swedes still appear to be holding back from swiping their cards at the nation's tills. READ  

Royal Wedding
Six facts about Europe's hottest power couple
Sofia Hellqvist and Prince Carl Philip announcing their engagement in 2014. Photo: TT

Six facts about Europe's hottest power couple

Move over William and Kate, Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and fiancée Sofia Hellqvist are causing an international stir ahead of their upcoming wedding with one Australian paper even calling them 'Europe's coolest couple'. Here are six facts you need to learn about these rocking royals. READ  

Real-life police drama on Sweden's 'The Bridge'
The Öresund bridge between Sweden and Denmark. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Real-life police drama on Sweden's 'The Bridge'

Something resembling an episode of the popular gritty crime drama 'The Bridge' (Bron) occurred on Thursday night when Swedish and Danish police engaged in a car chase that ended with the arrest of four men. READ  

Swedish firm wins huge New York airport bid
Travellers at New York's LaGuardia Airport in January 2015. Photo: TT

Swedish firm wins huge New York airport bid

A consortium led by Swedish construction company Skanska has been picked for a $3.6 billion (30.5 billion kronor) project to modernize New York's LaGuardia Airport, regional transport officials have announced. READ  

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish strawberry cordial
Strawberry cordial is a refreshing summer drink. Photo: John Duxbury

How to make Swedish strawberry cordial

Swedes love berries and enjoy putting them in both chilled cordials as well as hot drinks during winter. Here, food writer John Duxbury shares his favourite recipe for a raw strawberry squash (rårörd jordgubbssaft) that's delicious year-round but perfect for Swedish summer time. READ  

Swedish city apartment buyers in 'trouble' zone
Apartment blocks in Gothenburg: Photo: Simon Paulin/Image Bank Sweden

Swedish city apartment buyers in 'trouble' zone

One of Sweden's biggest banks has warned that too many potential buyers in Gothenburg and Stockholm are set to spend more than 30 percent of their disposable income on monthly mortgage payments and related costs, putting them in danger of potential financial problems in future. READ  

US rapper Wyclef Jean: 'I want to move to Sweden'
US-Haitian rap artist Wyclef Jean. Photo: AP Photo/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron

US rapper Wyclef Jean: 'I want to move to Sweden'

A small Swedish town two hours north of Stockholm could get an unexpected celebrity resident. Rap star Wyclef Jean fell in love with Sandviken after a gig there two years ago and has now told a Swedish tabloid that he is planning a move to the town in the next couple of years. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Five unmissable events in Sweden
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: Nine questions every expat should ask
Business & Money
Sweden drops in leading global business rankings
Sponsored Article
Why expat women are choosing Swedish natural birth control
National
Royal princess couple to quit Stockholm for UK
Blog updates

29 May

Editor’s blog, May 29th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Sweden has spent the week celebrating stealing the Eurovision crown (again), with even our most..." READ »

 

26 May

Vet, kan, känner eller känner till? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It happens every now and then that my students mix up the words “vet”, “kan”, “känner”..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
What to ask before buying your first home in Sweden
Sponsored Article
'No one tells expats about unemployment benefits'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: People-watching: May 17th
Sport
Fake quotes in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Swedish memoirs
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Your May sun snaps
Education
Does Sweden mark down foreigners' children?
Sponsored Article
What it's like to be a student in Malmö
National
Russian veterans' Nazi attack on Ikea
Gallery
Property of the week: Lugnvik, Östersund
National
Avicii confirms royal wedding DJ gig
Sponsored Article
Kristin Amparo: 'Swedes are afraid to be proud'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw through the years
Gallery
People-watching: May 22nd-23rd
National
Why are Sweden's beaches among the worst in Europe?
National
VIDEO: Can you get your tongue around Sweden's word for 'nurse'?
National
How two million Swedes are designing a 'house of clicks'
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Five facts you need to know about Sweden's Eurovision entry
National
Why do one in three Swedes want to join Nato?
Features
What to do in Stockholm this summer
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th
National
How Sweden and Saudi Arabia got back on speaking term after row
Gallery
Property of the week: Västra hamnen, Malmö
Sponsored Article
'There is no such thing as Swedish values'
National
Why is support for the Sweden Democrats at a record high?
Sponsored Article
ConnectSweden: Examining Sweden's place in the world
Gallery
People-watching: May 15th - 17th
National
VIDEO: Swedish man's roar scares off charging bear
National
'Gang conflict' linked to latest Gothenburg attack
National
RECIPE: How to make Panna cotta with cloudberry jam
Sponsored Article
'Educated immigrants get stuck in limbo in Sweden'
National
Sweden backs migrant sharing plan
National
Swedish boozing on the rise
National
Why Sweden's deputy PM was forced to apologize for Auschwitz analogy
National
End of the road for Julian Assange's arrest appeal?
Features
Booked to go to one of Sweden's sizzling music festivals yet?
National
Meet the Swedish boy who used to be a girl
Sponsored Article
How to change the world: Malmö to Mogadishu
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why is obesity ballooning in Sweden?
National
VIDEO: The bizarre Swedish nurses song that's gone viral
National
Ecuador stray dog Arthur in Swedish charity race
National
UK expert: 'Sweden's current military state is alarming'
National
Elfdalian: a real language spoken in central Sweden in 2015
National
Is King's love for house tracks behind new military music?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hjortnäs, Leksand
National
Sex-crazed grouse terrorizes Swedes
Sponsored Article
'Never waste a good crisis'
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
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

3,260
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se