|Home » Rants
Announcing SVT Softstep
Providing a new service.
STOCKHOLM (Radsoft/Rixstep) — Radsoft & Rixstep announce a new Internet service for Swedish state television: SVT Softstep. This service will allow employees of SVT to view Radsoft and Rixstep web pages online.
A small monthly fee will be exacted.
The new service will make it possible for computers in, amongst others, the following IP range to access both Radsoft and Rixstep web pages.
inetnum: 18.104.22.168 - 22.214.171.124
person: Anders Lundberg
address: Sveriges Television AB
address: S-105 10 Stockholm
phone: +46 8 7844700
source: RIPE # Filtered
Representatives of SVT have begun negotiations with Radsoft & Rixstep with the goal of implementing a one-time 'opt-out' fee. SVT's IP ranges will be blocked in htaccess and special software will be installed on the SVT network (at SVT's expense) to insure that no one gains egress with a request for a Radsoft or Rixstep IP.
Other sites are of course encouraged to do the same: simply go into your .htaccess file and block all SVT IP ranges.
Citizens of Sweden currently live under a draconian regime backed by legislation going as far back as 1919, long before television came to the country. The Swedish state long held a complete monopoly on both radio and television transmissions, going so far as to call attempts to break this monopoly 'undemocratic'.
The Swedish state can finance this operation through allocation of tax revenues, but also through a special licence fee paid annually by all television owners.
The state's 'radio service' ('Radiotjänst', see also Wikipedia's page in English) keeps a 'Big Brother' control over all citizens in this regard. Quoting from Wikipedia:
Under Swedish law everyone who owns a television set is required to pay the licence fee, currently 2032 kronor (€210) per year (2008). The fee is collected by Radiotjänst but administered by Swedish government office Swedish National Debt Office ('Riksgäldskontoret') by means of a special account, the so-called 'rundradiokontot'.
The problem is that quite a lot of people don't like the system and refuse to pay their licensing fees. And quite a few famous politicians have been found out as well in this regard. The system is innately flawed as there's no reasonable way to find out if someone has a television - all they can do is find out who is paying.
So they take the list of paying subscribers and cross-check with a list of everyone in the country. The result? A list of everyone not paying a licence fee.
But this doesn't quite get them there either.
Smoke 'Em Out!
So the next step is to smoke the non-payers out. This is accomplished through a number of forms of outright intimidation. Advertisements are regularly transmitted, detailing in dramatic form the shock, terror, and shame awaiting those who don't pay their licence fees. These campaigns are accompanied by announcements of 'pejling' (triangulation) operations in specific areas of the country. This is no laughing matter.
Sounding without snails
A lot of Karlstad residents are hiding behind drawn curtains this week. Some curse, others sigh in resignation. All because of the words of Mia Johansson and Hasse Svedin - 'heightened TV fee controls this week in your town'.
Oh yeah it's for real. And Mia and Hasse are a full half of the full time staff - the others volunteer their leisure time. And what type of controls can they carry out? GPS devices? Antennas that can detect television tuners? They used to have Ghostbusters-type vans with antennas on the roof but those were mostly fake.
'Today we use only the lists', Mia says. 'The lists show us who's paying. We knock on the doors of those who aren't.'
There was a way out: remove the oscillator (tuner) in the television. This would of course break the warranty, but... So the story spread that SVT could detect televisions with oscillators with a new secret device.
Thus the drawn curtains. And if you're not home or don't answer when they knock? They drop a form through your post slot.
This means SVT could not possibly exact a fee from every household with a functioning television. And given the level of cavalier spending inside the state corporation with little or no oversight, money has a tendency to disappear fast.
But hold on folks! For they've thought of something!
- The oftentimes less than useless SVT will now start transmitting everything on the Internet.
- Starting now, everyone in the country with a personal computer, a tablet, or a smartphone will have to pay a new fee to SVT whether they like it or not, whether they want to watch SVT or not.
It's brilliant. SVT can finally accomplish their pejling for real. And all without going out into the field. And everyone has a computer or a smartphone or a tablet!
Taxation Without Representation
Jan Karlung of ISP Bahnhof (the one Oscar Swartz once built) has already come with a countermove - the SVT Blocker.
'Bahnhof has always been about freedom to choose', says Karlung. 'You can think what you want about public service television and their licensing scheme. But up to now we've had a system where consumers had the freedom to choose, the same way you can choose or not choose to own a television. We're now giving our customers the freedom to choose whether they want to watch state television on their computers.'
This is how it works. You register here, then download a personalised PDF document which attests to you not being able to access SVT online.
As most people won't be watching much of SVT anyway, it's no big loss and it saves you a lot of money. Right?
Perhaps. The rumblings within SVT indicate they intend to fight Karlung and Bahnhof. They want the licence fees.
So in the spirit of cooperation and truth and justice for all, Radsoft and Rixstep shall now reciprocate. By default, Radsoft and Rixstep claim licence fees for everyone within the monster SVT organisation. This no matter they actually access the sites or no.
And should SVT want access to Radsoft, Rixstep, or any other site joining this cooperative effort, they'll have to pay. Or else stop their silly nonsense.