Snoop law vote to go ahead

Sweden's parliament is finally set to vote on Wednesday evening on a controversial signal surveillance bill. The vote was delayed by several hours after centre-right critics of the bill demanded a range of amendments.

But the parties of the opposition, which are committed to voting against the bill, have dismissed the changes as cosmetic.

“Essentially it’s the same proposal, except that those who are to monitor us are also to be subject to more monitoring,” said Left Party leader Lars Ohly.

Centre Party politicians Fredrick Federley and Annie Johansson have been slammed by bloggers opposed to the bill for selling out. Both said they were contemplating a no vote before Tuesday evening’s emotional Riksdag debate, when Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors agreed to certain concessions.

For example, the Swedish Data Inspection Board is to be tasked with monitoring the surveillance activities of the National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets Radioanstalt – FRA) in the period leading up to an official review of the law in 2011.

“One point that is absolutely central is the creation of a new agency to control the granting of permissions. In the original proposal this went through the Armed Forces intelligence committe,” said Annie Johansson, who is expected to vote in favour of the law.