Sweden’s new surveillance law poses a major threat to business growth in Sweden. If the law goes ahead as planned, many companies, including Momail, are likely to move their international operations to another country.
For young companies reliant on the internet, the new law allowing the state to eavesdrop on all email and telephone traffic passing in and out of the country will hamper their growth and could go as far as to threaten their very existence.
Take us, for example. We are a fast-growing internet company offering mobile email services to a global market. Since all our international services pass through a network operations centre in Sweden, our customers’ communications are now going to be subject to surveillance regardless of the prevailing laws in their home countries.
An email exchange between two Danes for instance is first sent to Momail’s operations centre, where it is optimized and tailored to meet the customer’s specific needs. This means that the email will “cross Sweden’s borders” and, as such, will be scanned by Sweden’s National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA).
It will not be easy to explain this to our private Danish customers or to the Danish mobile operators who are our clients.
Since the internet has become such a fundamental carrier of information, it is natural for many companies to base their businesses on the success of the phenomenon. But just as it is beginning to really find its feet, the development of web-based business in Sweden may well be dealt a deadly blow by the introduction next year of a law that is certain to do more harm than good.
Swedes have already shown that they are deeply opposed to the legislation, which is set to come into effect on January 1st next year. Now it is time for the government to show real leadership by acting to repeal the law before it is too late.
If it doesn’t act, the government risks undermining much of its work to maintain Sweden’s position as a leading IT nation. And that is something that neither we at Momail, nor our fellow Sweden-based internet entrepreneurs, want to see happen.