Controversial surveillance bill sent to parliament

TT/The Local
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Controversial surveillance bill sent to parliament

Defence minister Mikael Odenberg has sent his controversial surveillance bill to the Riksdag. The Social Democrats have not yet indicated whether they will support the proposal.


Odenberg referred to the proposal on Thursday as "an important step towards improving the protection of personal integrity in our country."

Should parliament approve the legislation, the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) will be given extensive powers to tap internet and telephone communication in and out of Sweden.

Odenberg stressed that the government had taken on board recommendations made by the Legislative Council regarding personal integrity. While there is still a risk that FRA will come upon information that it is not authorized to look at, any such information is to be immediately destroyed.

On the advice of the Legislative Council, an integrity commission is to be appointed by the government to examine the FRA on a continuous basis.

Former justice minister Thomas Bodström says that his Social Democratic party has not yet taken a final position on the bill.

He does however criticize Odenberg for being unforthcoming as to the military's new role in the fight against crime.

"One must then ask the question: Do we want this change? And, if we do want it, shouldn't we carry out a proper investigation first?" said Bodström.

A minority of 60 members of parliament opposing the bill would be enough force a one-year postponement, and both the Left Party and the Greens are in favour of putting the proposal on ice. But in order to do so they need the support of other parties.

The Social Democrats have invited FRA, the police, security services, the prosecutor's office, the bar association, the register board, military intelligence representatives and the economic crimes bureau to a hearing on March 20th to discuss the ramifications of the bill.

"We'll make up our minds about it after that," said Bodström.

If the party decides to oppose the bill, however, the former minister does not rule out pushing for a postponement.


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