Government mulls relaxed internet privacy

The government is considering making it easier for police to track suspects' activities on the internet.

Government mulls relaxed internet privacy

According to the political newspaper Riksdagen & Departement, the government is exploring a lower threshold for releasing IP-address information for use in criminal investigations.

Every time someone accesses the internet, that person is assigned a corresponding IP-address. IP-addresses are assigned and stored by internet service providers and can be used to trace a specific user’s activities on the internet, including specific websites and dates visited. Such information is considered personal and sensitive and therefore afforded certain protections.

However, the exact level of protection is unclear.

The National Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) stated in 2001 that IP-addresses were equivalent to subscription information and therefore could be accessed by police in cases when the crime under investigation was punishable with jail time.

But as internet use has become all the more prevalent in everyday life, PTS has adjusted is position, calling for added protection. According to PTS “it appears appropriate” that IP-addresses today be released to police only in cases when the suspected crime would result in at least two years in prison.

However, as an increasing amount of criminal activity involves the use of the internet, police have been pressuring the government to look into easing police access to IP-address information. The government has responded in a brief calling on investigators to draw up a list of rules that would allow police to get IP-address information when investigating crimes punishable only by fines.

The government is also looking into whether or not IP-address information should be given to police during the initial phases of an investigation before a specific suspect has been named.


Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden.