Thursday, June 26, 2008

A (Small) Rally Against Swedish Surveillance Laws


Swedish lawmakers voted late on Wednesday 18th June 2008 in favour of a controversial bill allowing all emails and phone calls to be monitored in the name of national security.

The FRA law (FRA-lagen in Swedish) is the common name for legislation with the stated purposed of fighting terrorism in Sweden, including a new law put forward by the government as well as several modifications to existing laws, formally called proposition 2006/07:63 – En anpassad försvarsunderrättelseverksamhet (proposition 2006/07:63 – An intelligence agency accommodation). The law, taking effect in 2009, gives the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA, Swedish Försvarets radioanstalt) the right to intercept all Internet exchange points that exchange traffic that crosses Swedish borders, though experts argue that it is impossible to differentiate between international traffic, and traffic between Swedes.
The law was passed by the Swedish parliament on June 18, 2008, by a vote of 143 to 138, with one delegate abstaining and 67 delegates not present.

Since then there has been the beginning of opposition to what is soon (January 1st 2009) to become law. In Umeå today there was a small rally, mostly made up of young people opposing the so-called FRA-Law. The rally was addressed by representatives of the youth wings of three major parties and an independant 'cyber person' (see video below with bad audio - soon).

The rally ended with people breaking up into smaller groups for discussions on encryption and VPN-tunnel techniques. Another rally is planned for Saturday in Umeå (as well as Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö and Örebro).

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