Government to allow EU police to tap Swedish phones

The Swedish government is proposing a law to allow foreign security agencies to eavesdrop on telephone calls and emails within Sweden's borders. But, as Tuesday's Svenska Dagbladet reported, both the justice ombudsman and the Swedish Bar Association have expressed concern that the new law would erode Swedes' legal rights.

The proposal would mean that if a Swedish court approves, another EU-based police service would be able to tap phone calls and scan emails and other data transfers directly, rather than through the Swedish police.

“The rules we’re proposing mean that the same conditions would apply as to a domestic crime investigation,” said Ulf Wallentheim at the justice department.

“The investigation must relate to a crime that would result in at least two years in prison in Sweden.”

According to Svenska Dagbladet, the government hopes that by introducing such a policy it would be able to carry out surveillance in other EU countries more effectively.

Justice ombudsman Mats Melin said that the proposal had “many weaknesses”, while the general secretary of the Swedish Bar Association, Anne Ramberg, told SvD that the development is “very, very worrying”.

“We are fast on our way to becoming an extremely unpleasant society. Sometimes you can give up a little integrity to get at organised crime, but never the rule of law.”

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet