Saturday, December 29, 2007

Some Thoughts on a Law for IP Disclosure in Sweden

The present government of Sweden wants to introduce laws that will allow police to have the ability to identify and collect and store the IP numbers of Internet users. In an article in the political newspaper Riksdag & Departement the government:

vill underlätta för polisen att få del av de koder som kan identifiera internetanvändare. Även i spaningssyfte kan polisen komma att få del av uppgifterna.

(will make it easier for the police to obtain parts of the code that can identify Internet users. Within the proposal the police can obtain parts of that information.)

The purpose of the extra police power is reported a result of:

I takt med att brottslingar ökat sitt användande av internet och IP-telefoni har polisen ökat trycket på regeringen för att lättare kunna koppla en IPadress till en enskild användare.

(To keep pace with the rise in criminality that uses Internet and IP-telephone the police have increased pressure on the government to be able to more easily connect IP-addresses to an particular user.)

I have been thinking about this idea for a few days and I had a thought regarding the relativity of the proposal. What if it was public library loans that was the system that was needing increased security? Of course, it is the communication possibilities of the Internet that make it a source of concern for police, but to have the information consumption of an individual monitored is the result in both scenarios. Of course even in the United States, a nation at war on several fronts, even the idea of security/police forces monitoring library loans causes uproar (see the Mao Little Red Book Hoax). However, surveillance is a growth industry throughout the world:

The global production value of IP surveillance is expected to rocket from US$ 1.4 billion in 2006 to US$ 5.5 billion in 2010, exceeding that of analog CCTV surveillance. Moreover, the market demand for such IP surveillance products as network cameras, video surveillance software, video servers and NVRs (Network Video Recorders) will show good growth in the very near future. CompuTrade

The implications for the collection of IP traffic sourced to users are broad and numerous. How will diplomatic missions react to the idea that their embassies are being surveilled? And what of the future? The political boundaries between individual states and the European Union are becoming more and more transparent as each new resolution is passed. Who will be able to access police IP databases in the future? The worst case scenario is of course, totalitarianism. In the USA the security apparatus has long ago been identified as a potential tool for a dictator:

"That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people," he said in 1975, "and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide." New York Times

The proposal for a Swedish IP register with police access has been referred for consideration.

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