Telia backtracks on Skype ‘block’ in Sweden

Swedish telecom operator Telia has backtracked on a proposal from March to implement technologies that would have blocked mobile phone users in Sweden from making free calls using services like Skype and Viber, but has announced a hike in data prices.

The company announced in a statement on Monday that it would not charge extra for mobile voice over IP (VoIP) telephony services and that customers would be able to continue using services like Skype and Viber as they do today.

However, Telia revealed that there would be an increase in data prices to “meet customers’ growing demand for data communication”.

The maximum daily fee attached to new subscriptions will be increased from 9 kronor ($1.40) per day to 19 kronor per day, while the amount of data included will be raised from 0.5 to 2 megabytes.

The news comes after the company caused a stir in March announcing that such services would be blocked, a move that some believed was not in line with the European Commission guidelines on “net neutrality” whereby all internet traffic is treated equally.

“I believe, quite simply, that we need to be able to get paid for our various services no matter what, as different service plans include different things,” Telia spokesperson Charlotte Züger told Sveriges Radio (SR) at the time.

However, in Monday’s statement Telia announced that VoIP services will continue to be included in all subscriptions, except in a completely new subscription launched on 24 September called Telia Flex Bas.

This subscription is designed for customers who primarily use traditional voice services and have limited need for data communication.

TT/The Local/og

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Swedes least worried about internet snooping

Swedes are less worried about government, police and corporations snooping on them over the internet than any of the other nationalities surveyed by the privacy company F-Secure.

Swedes least worried about internet snooping
Swedes have historically been trusting of their governments. Photo: Lena Granefelt/Image Bank Sweden
According to the survey, Only 25 percent of Swedes surveyed said they had changed their behaviour on the internet as a result of worries over data privacy. 
This compared to 55 percent of respondents from the US, 48 percent from Germany, 47 percent from France and 43 percent from the UK. 
“We have good privacy legislation in Sweden and people in Sweden probably think these privacy rules protect internet privacy as well, but this is a misconception,” Mikael Albrecht, a security expert with F-Secure, the company which commissioned the survey told The Local. 
Swedes relaxed approach to privacy was seen in their responses to other questions. Only 31 percent of respondents from Sweden said that they knew where their personal data was stored online, compared with an average in the survey of 49 percent. 
And only 46 percent of Swedish respondents said that they were worried about new Internet-connected devices leading to privacy violations, compared with the survey's average of 69 percent. 
“Swedes perceive their country as safe and stable, especially when compared to countries like UK, USA and France, which have increased network surveillance aggressively,” Albrecht said in the press release.
“But while Sweden and many of the Nordic countries do enjoy relatively secure environments, this shouldn't translate into becoming overconfident that their personal data will stay private while being exchanged online.”
The F-Secure Consumer Values Study 2015 consisted of an online survey of 8,800 respondents from 11 countries, with 800 respondents in each of the US, UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Italy, Sweden, and India respectively. 
The study was designed together with Informed Intuitions, and the data was collected by Toluna Analytics.