Sweden?s snoop laws are worthy of Soviet Union
The Local · 27 Jul 2006, 15:08
Published: 27 Jul 2006 15:08 GMT+02:00
Swedish government minister Björn Rosengren once described Norway as "the last Soviet republic".
But new laws being introduced by Rosengren’s party colleagues in the Social Democrats, giving the state an unprecendented right to snoop on its citizens, mean that Sweden is now perhaps more deserving of this epithet.
The government wants to introduce a system which would require all internet service provides to record and save all e-mails you send and receive, all websites you visit and other such personal information. Even if you're not suspected of having committed any crime.
The government says that the police only will have access to this database after a court order has been issued. But what guarantees are given that a hacker could not abuse the system and get all sorts of information stored in it about you?
What guarantees are given that the system cannot not used by the Security Service? What guarantees are there that saying something negative about Göran Persson while chatting online might be misinterpreted?
Justice minister Thomas Bodström says that the changes will make crime prevention easier – but how given that this is not simply a cover for some kind of indexing of people, like under the Nazis over 60 years ago? The answer is that there are no such guarantees; we are left in the dark.
It may sound far-fetched, but can we be sure that one day a police officer won’t come knocking on our doors asking if we have do they really prevent crime? If the police cannot use the register until after a crime has been committed, what good is the system for crime prevention? By the time the police start checking your personal data, you have already committed a crime and you are already a prime suspect. Global supervision is not the solution to organized crime.
I would rather see the money this system would cost to create and run being used to fund more police officers or to improve the quality of our schools and hospitals. I would rather see this money being used to do good, rather than create a Big Brother society.
Björn Lindh is chairman of The Pirate Party's Huddinge branch