Data sharing push to fight terror in Sweden

Data sharing push to fight terror in Sweden
Sweden's Security Service (Säpo) is one of the agencies being looked at. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
Closer coordination is needed between Swedish authorities working to combat terrorism in the Nordic nation, says Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman.

Sweden has three main bodies investigating terrorism, FRA (the National Defence Radio Establishment which is the Swedish national authority for Signals Intelligence), Must (a division of the Swedish Armed Forces which is Sweden’s main foreign intelligence service) and Säpo, the Swedish Security Service.

The agencies currently share information but this has to be passed on manually. Sweden’s Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman is calling for closer coordination to grant each body automatic access to data that they have gathered while investigating terrorism.

He told Sveriges Radio programme Ekot on Monday that the government was looking at how to move forward to allow for a better exchange of information “in a legally secure manner” and said that the Social Democrat-Green government would launch a full investigation in the autumn.

Sweden’s previous centre-right Alliance government also considered various new ways of improving data sharing between the agencies but none were implemented before it was defeated in September 2014.

Home Affairs Anders Ygeman has frequently campaigned for better cooperation on data and intelligence during his time in government.

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks in January he told The Local he was pushing for national security services across Europe to be more open with one another.

“We are working hard to exchange information, but there are still some obstacles. There is a discussion about trust and knowing if you can really rely on security services from other countries to use information in an appropriate manner,” he said.

There are growing concerns about homegrown terrorism in the Nordic country following reports that up to 150 people have travelled from Sweden to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside militant groups such as Isis, with around a third subsequently returning to Sweden.

In January a poll suggested that one in three Swedes are concerned about a terror attack in their own country.

Two deadly shootings in Copenhagen in February also raised concerns about terrorism in Scandinavia.

Sweden last experienced a terror attack in December 2010 when two bombs exploded in central Stockholm, killing the bomber and two others.