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'Exempt Swedes from FRA surveillance'

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08:11 CEST+02:00
Signals intelligence agency FRA should not be permitted to eavesdrop on Swedish citizens at least until the legal implications have been fully examined, according to a new proposal from the Centre Party, Svenska Dagbladet reports.

The Centre Party's parliamentary group is unanimous in its acceptance of the proposal, which has now been submitted to the government.

The party has spent much of the summer hammering out a compromise with internal critics of the highly controversial FRA law, which will enable the National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets Radioanstalt - FRA) to intercept all calls, emails and phone text messages crossing Swedish borders from January 1st next year.

At least until the regulations surrounding the law have been more throughly examined, the Centre Party proposes that the FRA should only be allowed access to internet traffic in which both the sender and the recipient are based in countries outside Sweden.

Centre Party critic Fredrick Federley voted in favour of the law that has sparked the liveliest political debate in Sweden in years. But having also vowed to work towards improving the law, he now believes the government may support his party's proposal.

"We'll put an end to the main problem - general surveillance of Swedish citizens. Signals surveillance that starts or ends in Sweden will not be permitted," he told Svenska Dagbladet.

The party's defence policy spokesman Staffan Danielsson said it should be technically possible to exempt communications involving Swedish telephones or computers from the FRA's surveillance.

The Centre Party is one of four parties that make up Sweden's current centre-right coalition government. It received the second largest share of the coalition parties' votes in the 2006 general election and is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson.

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