Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sweden Law Allows Goverment Access to Internet & Telephone

I can hardly believe what I am reading. Sweden has passed a law allowing all cross-border internet and telephone traffic to be monitored. The law allows the military National Defence Radio Establishment to monitor Swedes' Internet usage and content from e-mails, phone calls and text messages.

I am stunned and I fear it may come to a country near me in the near future. I cannot believe that people would actually allow this bill to pass. It would be like having all your snail mail letters and parcels read by the mailman before he delivered them. I find it scary and I will quit using the internet entirely if they ever pass such a law here.

The article in The Province Newspaper does not say what the thinking behind this is, but one can assume that it was done in the name of security for the people. For the life of me I cannot understand how violating my freedom and my right to privacy keeps me safe. Yes the world is a scary place, but for me it would be a whole lot scarier if my right and my neighbors right to privacy and freedom were taken away.

Benjamin Franklin said "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security".

I wholeheartedly agree - what do you think?

6 comments:

  1. You are right: it is scary.

    Governments and security forces always want more power. This is why wise legislators try to put protective measures in place such as a limitation on how long people can be held for questioning and how far the police may pry into people's affairs. The police always agitate for greater and greater powers but that is not a reason to grant them what they ask for.

    I think a number of things have come together to cause the increasing erosion of civil liberties around the world.

    First, technology. It wasn't possible to implement mass surveillance before we had modern electronics and communications. It still isn't possible to do it on a real-time basis but it is possible to record mass data (emails, phone calls, cctv footage) and pick through it, for example checking emails against key-words in them or retrospectively listening to someone's phone conversations.

    Second, terrorism. Governments and security forces around the world have been obscenely hasty to use terrorism as an excuse to ramp up surveillance and control. If these measures could be restricted to genuine cases of terrorism it would be bad enough but they are not so restricted: anti-terrorist measures are used widely as when some people wearing tee shirts with slogans opposing airport expansion were arrested at Heathrow on the grounds that they represented a "security risk".

    Third, public fear and apathy. Governments have ably convinced people that there are great threats from terrorism and crime (despite falling crime figures the media and government constantly harp on about crime) so that we accept these erosions of our rights and intrusions into our privacy believing them necessary.

    They are not necessary. As an illustration, consider the ID card debacle in the UK. ID cards were "sold" as a measure against terrorism. Under mounting criticism, government has admitted that they won't prevent terrorism. Yet government is still determined to introduce ID cards. Why? Because they are a control freak's wet dream.

    People are beginning to wake up to the threat but only slowly. Will we wake up before the surveillance net is too strongly intertwined in our lives to be undone?

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  2. silvertiger, Thanks for this. I agree with you and I too hope people wake up before it is too late.

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  3. I totally agree with you. Unfortunately "security" has become a real psycho in Europe, and countries copy every other's safety measures in the name of "Europe", and therefore our liberties are more and more limited. In my city cameras have been installed in the town centre without asking for our opinion about it. Yet I live in a very quiet town where crime is far from being more important than in other cities...

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  4. Maybe they are following the example of the United States.

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  5. At least Sweden is upfront about it. They probably do it to us too but just don't tell us.

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  6. omg, I was just going to say exactly waht lorelei said, lol. I figure all governments do this, Sweden is just being honest.

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