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Lex Orwell to ECHR
Centre for Justice file complaint with Strasbourg.
STOCKHOLM (Radsoft) -- Lex Orwell has been sent to the European Court for Human Rights by the Swedish Centre for Justice. This is the first time the proposal will be subjected to a judicial review.
'There is a great interest in testing whether Lex Orwell meets the European Convention's requirements', says Centre for Justice head jurist Clarence Crafoord in a communiqué.
1 January 2009
The plan was to enact Lex Orwell by the end of 2008. But now things aren't so straightforward anymore.
The Centre for Justice filed their complaint today Monday with the ECHR. In their filing they ask the court to test whether the Lex Orwell proposal meets the requirements of the European Convention for safeguarding personal integrity and the rights of individuals who are under surveillance to have their cases tried in court.
The Centre for Justice have completed a careful judicial review of Lex Orwell and found it has marked similarities with the British surveillance law the ECHR already rejected 1 July 2008.
'Both proposals are imprecise. It's difficult for individuals to understand what's to be subjected to surveillance and what's not', says Crafoord.
Crafoord is particularly critical of the fact individuals are not told they've been the subject of surveillance.
'It's up to chance if people have their mail read and those who are innocent have no right to be informed after the fact', says Crafoord.
The Centre for Justice claim Lex Orwell leaves individuals totally without rights with regard to the surveillance they can be subjected to.
'Citizens are not told afterwards they've been spied on. They have no rights to test their cases in court. They have no rights to seek damages. The European Convention requires these rights', says Crafoord.
The Centre for Justice have observed the following with respect to Lex Orwell.
The reference to 'external threats' in the Lex Orwell proposal encompasses everything from international terrorism to environmental threats to interest and currency speculation. These areas are not sufficiently precise for the individual to be able to predict what will be the subject of surveillance and who will be subjected to it.
Because randomisation determines which correspondence passes over Sweden's borders it is also randomisation that determines if citizens have their communications intercepted. This type of surveillance is arbitrary in nature and therefore in conflict with the European Convention.
The Lex Orwell proposal does not contain sufficiently clear guidelines about the actual data mining process and how and when data is to be destroyed.
Citizens who suspect they are the object of illegal surveillance lack the capability to obtain information about this surveillance and to test their cases in court.
The methods cited in the Lex Orwell proposal are not goal oriented. Those who want to correspond in secret will often be able to do so anyway, leaving mostly a great amount of private correspondence for the surveillance teams to sift through.
I have a dream. My dream is that in a few years I will visit an auto showroom to buy an old used bucket of bolts and out will come a salesman and that salesman will be our current prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. This is not an unreasonable dream.
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