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To the Vote

Late breaking news as Lex Orwell comes before the Swedish riksdag.


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STOCKHOLM (Radsoft) -- In a few short hours the Swedish riksdag (parliament) will be voting on 'Lex Orwell', the feared law for surveillance of Internet traffic. And at the very last minute stories are finally emerging through the Swedish media. But it may be too late.

Been Collecting for Ten Years

FRA (Försvarets radioanstalt ) general director Ingvar Åkesson today admitted his organisation have in fact been intercepting Internet traffic for ten years. The impression they've always given is that their operations have been limited to filtering according to very specific search keys; it turns out this isn't really true.

According to Swedish television news programme Rapport it's been high scale data mining of both foreigners and Swedish nationals, taken from cell phones, land line telephones, SMS, and electronic mail with registration of sender IP when applicable.

But the contents of the data traffic have not been mined according to Åkesson - only who contacted whom.

Bad Reputation

Swedish IT experts meanwhile are increasingly worried Lex Orwell is going to ruin Sweden's reputation as a leading IT nation. 'We're very critical', says ITs & Telekomföretagen representative Anne-Marie Fransson. 'We've already submitted our criticism of the law and there's nothing happening now to change our opinion.'

Fransson is naturally afraid Google and other big players will shun Sweden. Google's Peter Fleischer has already made it clear Google will not place servers inside Sweden if Lex Orwell passes.

Swedish ISPs are also leading an attack. Bahnhof's founder Oscar Swartz is demanding the state owned Telia join in. 'Telia Sonera have to lead the ISPs and show they're there for their customers and won't be used as a political tool despite being a state owned corporation', says Swartz.

Centre Adjourn

Sweden's Centre Party had a crisis meeting this evening but have now adjourned without reaching a consensus. Voting on proposals put forth by the cabinet normally follow party lines but Lex Orwell may be different.

'My objective is to keep us together to support the proposal', said group leader Roger Tiefensee. But Tiefensee's party colleagues Fredrick Federley and Annie Johansson remain very much against the proposal.

'I am totally overwhelmed by how people have become involved in this controversy', says Johansson. 'I can count one thousand mail messages since last Thursday. Following party lines has its limitations; so does voting against one's own government.'

Another Year?

Lex Orwell was shelved 14 June last year after a controversial campaign by the current government to 'sneak' it through over the holiday season. It's possible members of parliament will try to shelve it again for another year.

Whatever: by this time tomorrow Sweden will either be back in the league of nations or just another puppet of the MPAA and the RIAA. Everyone knows the FRA are spying on everyone - governments do it all the time and their citizens actually expect it.

But if the data is not legally obtained it's unlikely the MPAA and the RIAA would be able to use it in a file sharing trial.

Lex Orwell can change that.

See Also
Radsoft News: Lex Orwell & Intent

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