back to article Sweden ushers in bugging for all

Sweden this evening voted in favour of its controversial snoop law, after the proposal was amended earlier today. Under the new law, all communication across Swedish borders will be tapped, and information can also be traded with international security agencies, such as America's National Security Agency. A total of 143 …


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  1. Martin

    Sweden boycott time

    Childish maybe, but it's all I can think of. No Ikea or Volvos for me.

  2. Nick


    Why did I have to do a double take on the article title - I first read it as 'Sweden ushers in buggering for all'. Maybe I have a problem.

  3. Pyros


    Nope, no problem at all.

    You will, of course, need to have your pants down beforehand before you make any call to anyone in Sweden.

  4. Ulf Hedlund

    not only phone calls

    You have to drop them when you make a post to a web page that could be read by a Swede too...

  5. Christoph

    Can I be the first to say

    Borg Borg Borg

  6. Adrian Esdaile
    Black Helicopters

    Not such a bad thing...

    If they tap everything, and stream it all directly to the web!

    Remember, if you aren't a crook (and don't use online banking or credit cards), you've got nothing to hide!

  7. Andy
    Paris Hilton

    The end is nigh...

    for privacy, democracy and civilisation as we know it. This is not the start, it has already been happening without our knowing about it. 1984, about 24 years late, but we are getting there. Last one to leave the planet turn out the lights...

    Paris - well, she hasn't got a lot of privacy has she?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    'Childish maybe, but it's all I can think of. No Ikea or Volvos for me'

    Volvo is owned by US car giant Ford.

    How about banning the listening of ABBA tracks, I've been doing that for years.

  9. Chris C

    The Pirate Bay

    So this is how they're going to go after The Pirate Bay? Seems like overkill and a hideous waste of the taxpayers' money. Call my cynical, but this has the stench of the US government (specifically, Bush) all over it.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    yeah totally a good idea

    @ Adrian Esdaile, yeah that makes sense. Who needs privacy? it's so overrated! Lets just have every email, phone call and instant chat messages between everyone published on the web!.

  11. Raife Edwards

    Now... What do you want to bet..?

    I wonder when Sweden will become an unavoidable transitory-hub for any, or all, communications that the good ol US_of_A wants to monitor without any of that, pesky, "Due Process", or "legal-oversight"..?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    what did China do again?

    oh ya, China "blocked" sites that they didn't like, the same in the middle east (mostly p0rn though). Now in Sweden, you are allowed to call anyone, visit any website and email anyone..... just be careful, everything is being recorded, and even if you do post "anonymously" they *will* know who did it, they'll even how many times you checked your post (even if you closed the window without posting). They will have to ability to profile everyone, heck even your mother will not know as well as the government will.

    they will only record things that pass through their boarders? Considering how the internet works..... this will include the communication with the doctor and lawyers. And if there are any hubs in Sweden, then that will include communication that is simply "passing" through Sweden.

    the freedom to fly have been taken away.

  13. George Johnson

    No this isn't the final nail, it's truly the first!

    Sweden being part of the EU, I fully predict that it's only a short while before all the other well to do governments in Europe contribute funding for a database of EU citizen's information. Not some tin-pot little collection databases scattered hap-hazardly all over the place, but one nice big, fat pan-European, EU funded Ministry of Information db with EVERYTHING in it!

    Let's hope they put EDS in charge of putting it in, then at least it might stand a chance of being total crap and never working properly before I step into my grave!

  14. gargrax

    Let them eat bytes

    I propose an International Visit-a-Swedish-Hosted-Website Day.

    Give them something to analyse.

  15. Remy Redert


    Your banking details, encrypted as they are, are probably safe. Especially if you're carefull about only doing such things over HTTPS links.

    Ofcourse this means we'll need to switch to HTTPS for everything. Is there a Theregister mirror using HTTPS yet?

  16. John Hawkins
    Black Helicopters

    Should we be surprised?

    I remember learning in school in the 1970s that Sweden was a 'half-democracy', which I didn't understand at the time being far too young. However, having lived in Sweden these past 20 years, I now know what was meant. Up to the mid-1970s at least Sweden was in practice a one-party - the Social democrats - state with state controlled news media and a secret police registering people's political views ( the infamous Information Bureau ). Even as late as 1987 the Social democrats talked seriously of banning private TV parabolas to prevent the locals from receiving non-sanctioned TV broadcasts.

    People my age get a shocked look in their eyes when I suggest this, but it often results in cackles and a "you've hit the nail on the head" from older people.

    On the other hand my parents live not far from a nice echelon ground station, so I'm not going to get upset about this. At least the Swedes are being open about it all, which we should give them credit for.

  17. Chris G

    Move your mind!

    And everything else out of Sweden. It's not surprising they have the highest suicide rate in Europe, between the draconian drink laws and long, dark ,cold winters and Abba tribute groups there doesn't seem to be a lot to live for in Sweden.

  18. Tony
    Black Helicopters

    Can I be the first to say..

    Hello and welcome to our new listeners in Sweden.

    I would like to apologise for the comments I made about pickled herring and your government's parentage. I've always been a big fan of your pornography and low-quality export furniture. Honestly.

    ..So please don't forward that email to my boss where I called him a pointless, retarded waste of amino acids. Thanks.

  19. Richard Large

    Is it me...

    ... or does anyone else smell the MPAA/RIAA somewhere in this?

  20. Stephen Baines
    Thumb Down

    Proud to live in Sweden


    I can hardly believe that we've passed a law like this. Sure, you expect it of Blair/Brown, but Sweden....?

  21. Ted Treen

    More encouragement

    So we can expect Broon to take a fact-finding holiday (sorry, visit) together with the gorgeous, pouting Jacqui, and then steamroller this through Parliament (assisted no doubt by bribed Ulster Unionists and Lib-Cleggs) before the electorate throw him out next election.

    Much more of this, and even we Brits won't wait for an election.

  22. Claus P. Nielsen
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Not such a bad thing...

    "Remember, if you aren't a crook (and don't use online banking or credit cards), you've got nothing to hide!"

    If only Anne Frank had known this. Then she could have been out playing with all the little Hitler Jugend kids in stead of hiding in that little room for all that time.

  23. Robert Harrison

    That's right

    "MPs from Sweden's ruling party believe the law does not constitute the final nail in the coffin of democracy."

    There's still a few left in the bag, where's the hammer?

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Really bad...

    Doing business with Swedish companies may be risky as the secret intelligence will sell any information of value that they acquire. The FRA (Swedish equivalent of the NSA) will do business not only with other governments/intelligence organizations but also with companies, selling your information!

    A request. Can you at the Reg. please install SSL protection on the site? I don't fancy the idea of having my government/FRA/NSA/highest bidder to read my posts.

  25. Eponymous Cowherd
    Paris Hilton

    In a perverse way

    Its quite heartening to hear that other countries have MPs that are at least stupid as our own.

    Paris, because even she must have heard of encryption.

  26. Svein Skogen

    Remember that

    TPB is Swedish too. With this law, especially the bit about "sharing information with international agencies", they are free to share information with the international arm of MPAA/RIAA/MAFIAA regarding miscreants using the pirate bay.


  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Will it stand up?

    No, this is not @Nick

    Just wondering if this kind of legislation won't fall at the European hurdle? I mean, isn't this law infringing on my privacy. I don't live in Sweden, yet I have no way to control in what way data is routed once it leaves my PC. Now I run the risk that private (and not private, I don't care which) ends up in the hands of the Swedes, and worse, in the hands of the US govt and/or (other?) hackers/nasty evildoers?

  28. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Oxymoron of the week...

    "An external group comprising members appointed by the government will monitor privacy and integrity issues."

    External to whom? It clearly isn't the authorities, since they've appointed them. The Swedish electorate perhaps?

  29. Wokstation

    Re: Adrian

    "(and don't use online banking or credit cards)"

    ...or research terrorism, or look at bondage-porn, or write "carrots are better than swede" on the intyweb.

    Doesn't this mean that any data that crosses a Swedish internet node is liable to be tapped?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    End of Western Liberty/Freedom/Privacy as we know it...

    If the land of the Pirate Bay can accept this, then the rest of us are well and truely Fucked!

    Liberty/Freedom/Privacy will be terms that future generations will only read in History books - at least until those History books get censored too.

    Time to move to a slightly more tolerant region... like China...

  31. Adam Foxton
    Thumb Up

    "final nail in the coffin of democracy"

    If used properly this could lead to a half-decent democracy. Assuming it's used properly, designed properly, maintained properly and policed properly.

    It'd be a far lower-level democracy where people can be assigned a vote- or even better a number of votes based on their qualifications/experience in that field- for every little task/choice/law that will affect them.

    Also where peoples wishes and beliefs can better be respected- for example people who've registered as being against GM foods being prevented from buying or using them and people against animal testing being prevented from buying or using any product that used animal testing or is derived from animal-tested knowledge / products.

    Pacifist? You're automatically excluded from being called up to fight in a war. You may, however, be stuck with some of the "clearing medical waste", "carcass transportation" etc duties.

    Don't want to see this "sick filth" of pr0n? Then you're immediately banned from buying it or going to registered "sick filth" websites.

    Preaching Hate of the UK? Then you get a free aircraft or ferry ticket out of here to your next-nearest point of ancestry and a ban from ever returning. It's not an extradition, just a rapid and forceful "government-doing-what-you-wanted".

    So everyone could be better catered for and not have to put up with things they didn't like. It would get rid of a lot of any perceived privacy outside the home but could respect your physical privacy inside the home. Not quite a utopia, but better than what we've got at the moment.

    And then it'd be hijacked and screwed up and we'd be back in the mess we're in ATM.

    Good for you sweden asssuming you're going to use these powers properly.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Todays terrorists are a much stronger strain

    Look you have to understand that today's terrorists, they're not the same terrorists we knew from when we were kids. No, then they had bombs and guns and killed lots of people, but *todays* terrorists they are so much stronger than previous strains, they have bombs and guns and crash planes like before, but now they also have eMail too.

    They're even very much stronger than in 2001 when a blithering idiot of a President took no action at all in response to warnings of an imminent terrorist attack. That is why this super-spying law wasn't implemented in 2001, or even 2002 when he invaded Iraq, ...

    Sweden faces a never before threat to its crisp bread, a threat that REQUIRES it monitor all it's citizens for every communications they make. And this conveniently happens just after the FRA has installed the worlds fifth biggest parallel supercomputer and after the EU killed the right to privacy by signing off on the data retention declaration.

    You see the reason for it, is NOT because the technology is there and the creeps that always want this sort of stuff are newly empowered by the attack on privacy rights in EU, *NO*, not at all, it's a direct response to the terrorism Sweden faces today to it's national bread product.

    Of course now that the Swedish defence dept has this legalized, no politician would ever disband that committee for fear of those people turning on them and revealing their secret communications. So it's a one way jump into the hole.

    Well unless the ECJ annuls the Data Rentention Directive, in which case the right to privacy in the EU is restored and Swedes can overturn this in the European court. Which thankfully is stacked with judges that do not have their secret communications monitored by the Swedish military.

  33. g e


    There's no way for me to prevent my data traversing swedish networks as once my router's handed the packets off they're at the mercy of everyone else's routing?

    Not that it probably matters much.. don't the yanks already sniff everything on their networks anyway? I'm sure far more of my data routes through them than sweden... google, facebook, for a start.

  34. Badg3r

    Well I personally

    Welcome our new Swedish data Overlords (Agency)

  35. Long Fei


    Remember, if you aren't a crook (and don't use online banking or credit cards), you've got nothing to hide!

    Really? What about company confidential documents then? Or government stuff?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And you seriously think this isnt happening in the UK or US?

    Sweden are actually ahead of others but making it official which in a weird sort of way is more open government

  37. Ash
    Thumb Down

    This is obscene!

    Is data collected in Sweden under this law admissible in a UK court?

    Surely any evidence collected would breach the UK Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and be thrown out?

    If this is not the case, we ALL need to write to our MP. EVERY ONE OF US.

  38. Jeff Deacon

    Warning, elephants at work!

    Surely this is just their implementation of an EU directive that a UK Home Secretary called Clark rammed through.

    All for the fight against "terror" don't you know.

  39. Paul Smith

    Re Not such a bad thing...

    "Remember, if you aren't a crook (and don't use online banking or credit cards), you've got nothing to hide!"

    So I take it you are happy to post your personal finances on the net? After all, if your company uses any sort of computer system to handle payroll, then that data will probably end up passing through a swedish router sooner or later, and once it does, the world can find out what you earn.

    Your credit card details? Sooner or later, some shop you use will route their transaction request via a swedish server. (Not deliberatly, they have no control over the routing of internet traffic) and viola, your private data becomes public data.

    Perhaps a journalist you respect is trying to uncover corruption in government in your country, a country with strict rules about bugging etc. (so obviously not Britain then), all the government has to do is 'ask' the telecomms operator to route some of the switching traffic related to calls through Sweden and hey presto, instant, legal, bugging.

    Of course, you are not worried by any of this because you are an innocent man, with nothing to hide. What do you need privacy for?

  40. John Lewis

    @ Nick

    Feel better I wasn't the only one who read it as that...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What are they keeping ?

    Are they recording just that a call was made or the entire conversation. Are they keeping copies of all e-mails. Microsoft keep copies of all conversations on MSN ( is that correct ? ) already or just in the States. Normal problem ! no one knows for sure.

  42. Scott
    Black Helicopters


    Yep and of course all those private e-mails to family and friends? what about if you don't want your wife to know about your boyfriend? and don't forget the Security services (SS) knocking the door down if you write something the goverment doesn't like (even in a private e-mail).

  43. min

    i thought

    that democracy died a loooooong time ago..when your belt has been cut off, your pants forcefully dropped and then you've been bent over, i suppose it is natural to accept with resignation, a good buggering...erm bugging.

    and to think i was praising liberty in Scan-dinavia in a discussion the other day. well strike me over the head with a microphone....

  44. Anonymous Coward


    Big brother in Sweden is going to end up watching Swedes trawling the internet for pron.

    Kind of like a very expensive Digg perhaps?

  45. Olof P
    Thumb Down

    A few thoughts from Sweden

    Yes, it's a bad law even if it improved very slightly in the last couple of days. However it still limits them to looking for stuff related to organised crime and/or national security. And no, obviously they won't store everything, only certain parts which match some kind of pattern. If this analysis turns out negative, they have to delete the info ASAP.

    @ Oxymoron of the week: There will be at least two control organs: one will be an own agency whose mission is to check up on how FRA uses their new powers, and one will be a committee with representatives from the parties in parliament, and hence represent the Swedish electorate.

    @ Really bad...: You have any source at all for that ridiculous claim that they'll sell the information? Sure sounds like a bunch of FUD to me.

  46. Scott

    @Olof P

    We have the same checks in place for our "anti-terror" laws, shame these laws are now used to make sure you don't over fill you bin/live near the school you say you do/let your dog poop on the pavement.

  47. Svein Skogen


    ..."limits them to looking for stuff related to organised crime"...

    By who's definition of "organised crime". According to IFPI bittorrent networks are "organised crime".

    Almost anything can with the right amount of legal twisting be misrepresented to give them an excuse for listening in. It's not about having a real reason, it's about being able to excuse listening in afterwards. No real oversight except that some politicians and a greased agency will read the reports _MADE_BY_THE_LISTENING_PEOPLE!_ on how/what they recorded in the past 3 months.

    There's your nightmare. I say that this is sufficient reason to cut all fiber optics crossing the swedish border. Isolate the world from this police-state.


  48. John


    Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    - Benjamin Franklin

  49. Anonymous Coward

    I'm frankly surprised

    That they don't just ask the NSA for it. They're already reading everything that goes on in the world now. Yes, they just read this, too. And they can all take the p1ss for it!

  50. Ron Luther

    Next Week's News!

    Misplaced/Stolen Swedish government laptop reported to contain unencrypted data on absolutely everybody.

    Experts expect the laptop to become available on eBay shortly ... but remind us not to worry because:

    "Hey, it was password protected!"

  51. /dev/random

    Trust me, you're safe

    Proponents of the law say nothing will really change, since the surveillance has been made illegally anyway. I presume this means that those who ordered the illegal snoop will be prosecuted. Hmm, or maybe not. Maybe this law made yesterday is valid since several years?

    Being one of those who voted the current government in, I feel extremely cheated, but as has been mentioned in other comments, going for the opposition will do no good, since they were the ones who originated the law in the first place.

    However, after the first attempt failed, several hours of hard work to spell the word STASI differently, made a new law that passed. Now we are assured that our constitutional rights are not at jeapardy at all, since any information found that is concidered legal must be destroyed immediately. Of course those who couldn't care less about the previous law will tread very very carefully not to cross the boundaries set by this one.

    I won't hold my breath

  52. Schultz


    "And no, obviously they won't store everything, only certain parts which match some kind of pattern."

    This sums up the problem quite nicely: scan the data from some million people, you'll get some _very_ suspicious patterns. Too bad, the statistical chance to find the one real nutcase is quite low, but we'll still feel safer if you lock away a Mr suspicious or two!

    I'd like to believe that my government does all the spying and interrogating in our (the societies) best interest -- maybe just like my granddad believed his government locked away the jews for all our best interests ?! Vote for freedom early and often, so you won't have to plant bombs (filter alert!) in the seat of Swedish government (FILTER ALERT!) later. Take it as the German lesson of the day

  53. Gordon Jahn

    National Express Trains All Bugged Now Then?

    The last time I was on a National Express East Coast train with the free wifi, I went to and was presented with the "local" version, On checking, I was accessing the Internet through Does this mean, therefore, every time you surf on National Express trains that your data is being horse-traded since your point of presence is in Sweden? I'm not sure I like that.

  54. Edward Pearson

    Bye bye Sweden.

    "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid access to our site from your country is disabled. We don't like the idea of all our data being intercepted and cached at your borders, and as a result such have chosen to withhold service.

    We apologise for any inconvenience caused


    .htaccess available on request.

  55. Andreas Gerhardsson


    Well, what FRA will do is to require all telecom/internet providers with outside lines out of sweden to connect and send a realtime-copy of all their outgoing traffic. Then route this information through their supercomputer. Ofc, now they have petitioned for ANOTHER supercomputer, as they feel they need it with the increase in cryptology use... they also want to hire another 250 people.

  56. Olof P

    @ my critics:

    I think a lot of people missed the fact that I said I disagreed with the law. That doesn't mean everything said against it is true.

    To Svein Skogen, the writing limits it to "organised crime that could threaten the stability of the state", one example was that if they figured out someone was smuggling drugs they wouldn't be able to use that, unless they were doing it to finance a terror attack on Sweden.

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