Swedish MP – FRA Suspected of Already Beginning Surveillance Program

Following a seemingly global trend towards total surveillance, according to Swedish MP Max Andersson, the FRA is suspected of starting up their surveillance program without parliamentary approval.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

The news comes during a time when privacy is increasingly becoming a hot topic among the Swedish.

AT&T didn’t wait for regulatory approval, the German ISP Deutsche Telekom didn’t seek any go-aheads and Phorm certainly didn’t wait for any green lights either. Now it seems that, according to one Swedish MP, Defence radioanstalt is suspected of not even bothering with democratic approval (Google translation from Swedish) before commencing their national surveillance program.

The news comes during a time when the 17th of June is surveillance D-day for the Swedish to stop the FRA law from passing.

If the FRA has bugged telephone calls without having a permit, it is serious. Unless the authorities have respect for the law, it is a bad time,” says Andersson, “If the FRA has breached the powers they already have, then that is another reason not to extend their power to monitor citizens”

Andersson notes that if the FRA has commenced its surveillance program, they should be investigated.

Yesterday, we reported on ThePirateBay joining calls to stop the FRA act (as it is currently being called). Said the blog, “There is a new law being voted for on the 17th of June here in Sweden. The law would give the government the right to listen to all telephone and internet traffic that crosses the borders outside of Sweden. In reality – it’s basically all traffic in Sweden since we’re a small nation and Internet is global.”

It seems that this issue isn’t being heard by the few in Sweden. It seems people like Magnus Andersson has already taken the issues to the streets saying that people should have the courage to say no and not give into fear. Other Swedish bloggers have been commenting on the FRA vote as well including Federley, Frida, and Maria Ferm to name a few.

Rickard Falkvinge of the Swedish Pirate Party made his views clear in Swedish news site ‘The Local’ urging fellow members to do everything possible to block the legislation. Meanwhile, Staffan Danielsson of the Center Party of Sweden made his views clear on why he supports the legislation.

While the debate is certainly heated over the legislation, it’s currently unclear what the consequences might be if the legislation falls through and it gets confirmed that the FRA commenced it’s surveillance program without parliamentary approval. The suspicion that they did do so won’t make the debate any less heated.

One may wonder why it seems that these surveillance programs seemingly have the ability to be above the law in multiple countries already. What is a democratic society for when certain interests have an ability to just skip the process altogether or break the law (in most cases) without consequences? One may also wonder how much farther this surveillance bug will travel given how far it has reached already. If the surveillance bug does spread further, it may be increasingly more important to watch the debates happening in countries already dealing with the tough privacy questions to get a better understanding of the debates before it comes to other countries.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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