Intel agency seeks direct access to Swedes’ data

Intel agency seeks direct access to Swedes' data
Photo: The Local
The Swedish Security Service, Säpo, wants telecom providers to automatically disclose information about individuals' telephony and e-mail to the police and other agencies, although companies remain sceptical about the plans.

The request for the information has been made by the police and other agencies, such as the Swedish Customs (Tullverket) and the Tax Agency (Skatteverket).

The existing system is dictated by individual agreements between each service provider and various authorities tasked with the investigation of crimes. Säpo however wants state agencies to be able to access and collate information via a fully automated system.

Several of the major telecom companies stated in the beginning of November to the newspaper Ny Teknik that they are reluctant to accede to the demands. Tele2 said no directly, citing the need to protect the integrity of its customers.

Säpo has however not given up on the plan and remains in negotiations with providers, reported Sveriges Radio (SR).

"That's a question I can not go into, it's a matter of negotiation between us and the providers. We will never disclose which service providers are connected," Kurt Alavaara at Säpo told SR.

Talks are furthermore ongoing with Swedish firm Maintrac which manages data storage for telecom service providers and stores information about Swedish email traffic and telephone calls. Maintrac is named as 'at least one firm' reported to be working on setting up the automated system for data retrieval.

Maintrac’s CEO told SR that the firm is in the final stages of building the system and is conducting tests.

The new system will mean that the police and other crime fighting agencies will be able to access email, text and data information directly without the need to make a request for a manual search by the provider in question. The current system allows providers to refuse to accede to the request if they feel the law is not being followed.

According to legal expert Mark Klamberg the concern is not that the agencies will break the law, it is more that the law already allows too great an intrusion.

"That which is formally permitted under the law perhaps runs contrary to a general idea of ​​what is reasonable," Klamberg told Sveriges Radio .

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