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Agencies slam FRA-law revisions

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Agencies slam FRA-law revisions
07:46 CET+01:00
Changes to Sweden's wiretapping law have been met with stinging criticism in a new round of comments by two government agencies.

Last week the appeals court for Skåne and Blekinge in southern Sweden criticized the measure, and on Monday Sweden's Customs Agency (Tullverket) and the Data Inspection Board (Datainspektionen) voiced their displeasure with the current version of the legislation.

The controversial law gives sweeping surveillance powers to Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets radioanstalt – FRA) and presented a major political challenge for the government last year.

Not only did the law face criticism from the public and the opposition parties, but several prominent politicians in the centre-right Alliance government also came out against the measure.

An extra round of negotiations in September led to an amendment that called for a special court to be created which would rule on exactly what sort of cable-bound communications traffic FRA would be able to monitor.

But now the Customs Agency has criticized the changes to the signal intelligence law, claiming the alterations prevent the agency from directly access information from FRA, according to the Riksdag & Departement newspaper.

In order to get information from FRA, the Customs Agency must now to go through the government, the prime minister's office or the Armed Forces.

According to the agency, the extra steps hurt its ability to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The Data Inspection Board also doubts that the revisions do enough to protect the privacy of individuals.

It criticizes the special court due to be implemented as a part of the FRA-law compromise because it will only be staffed by regular judges.

The court will rule on whom FRA may target for intelligence gathering, and the Data Inspection Board questions whether the court can be a truly independent court, a charge echoing criticism in comments on the law from other agonies.

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