Ministries react against web ban plan

Employees in Sweden’s government offices, from ministers to lower level civil servants, would be prohibited from visiting websites dealing with war, weapons, and terror, according to a proposal by a chief administrator.

Government employees call the proposition poorly formulated, possibly illegal, and lacking reflection, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

Specifically, the sweeping proposal suggest prohibiting government employees from visiting extreme websites with “horrible” contents, as well as sites featuring “criminal competence”, drugs, hacking, racism, pornography, sexual material, violence (“pages which describe physical violence against people, animals, or institutions), and weapons (“pages with information on the purchase, manufacturing, or use of weapons”).

The suggestion comes from Jan Landahl, head of the Swedish government’s administrative section, in a proposal recently submitted for comment from different government ministries.

The ministries are to due to return their responses in Landahl on Thursday.

Employees from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have reacted strongly against the proposal, claiming that it amounts to censorship of the internet.

They point out that their work requires them to keep track of a number of websites which would be banned under the proposal.

Landahl refused to answer questions from DN about the matter, instead referring to the government’s general counsel, who also refused to comment on the internal critique.