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Sweden is on the verge of passing a far-reaching wiretapping program that would greatly expand the government's spying capabilities by permitting it to monitor all email and telephone traffic coming in and out of the country. So far, hacks from the mainstream Swedish press seem to be on holiday, so news about the proposed law …
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Since they would be monitoring intra EU traffic, so they'd better be prepared for a major land grab into their 'domestic' law by the EU Commission+ Parliament seeking to protect the rights of other EU citizens.
So the creepies in Sweden may think they can do a little political back door deal and the military spooks get their wiretap, but this matter will end up being an EU policy decision and the decision taken out of their hands.
Dear EU, you accepted the principle of spying on innocents JUST IN CASE they commit a future offence with the Data Rentention directive. In doing so you opened the flood gates to crap like this. Blair has gone, Jacqui is very soon to go. The people who pushed it are villified, time for a backtrack. It was a mistake, you were tricked, you never saw the slippery slope, oh well, backtrack and this can be fixed.
While I am against all laws of this type, it's no more sinister or draconian than what we have here in the US. At least the Swedes admit to it beforehand and do the proper thing of creating a law explicitly allowing it (as opposed to the US government's position of "we'll do whatever we want, whether you like it or not, whether it's illegal or not, because nobody can stop us").
Having said that, these types of laws will only catch the stupid criminals (which, I admit, there are plenty of). The really dangerous criminals will know how to use encryption, and will likely remain unconcerned. Eventually, encryption will be outlawed so the various governments, law enforcement agencies, etc. can more easily snoop on everything we do. All in the name of "freedom" and "protection", of course.
That discussion at the end indicates Wik has been domestic spying illegally and he knows it.
“The duties have been there before, but in this way they will become legal.”
Could be a bad translation, (or misquote) but how can it 'become' legal unless it was previous 'illegal'?
The comments from the Police board, National Registry Authority, Dept of Justice officials suggest they're unhappy with what the military is up to. (Mikael Odenberg = minister of defence+ ex army).
Go for it, try to see if you can nail one of them with the illegal domestic spying offense.
Nice to finally see some international attention on this subject. I have but one grievance with this article. Right in the beginning "... decidedly left-leaning Swedish Pirate Party..." is so erroneous it's not even funny (ok, maybe a bit).
As stated on their web page (roughly translated) "The Pirate Party takes no position on the right / left issues, or other issues which are outside our political program". To a causal observer one might get the idea when reading about criticism of patents and copyright.
What is most frustrating here in Sweden is the total and utter silence emanating from mainstream media. This issue has been hotly debated on blogs for months and years and, to tell you the truth, it seems that it will go on that way. This means that Joe Q Public does not know the real implications, (s)he will just be "thankful" towards our elected officials for protecting us from terrorist and their children from the millions of pedophiles out there.
Gloomy sunday... wait... almost thursday.
If nothing else, this will increase the amount of "NSA Food" that will traverse the network. Maybe we can get the spammers to do it for us! Then they will need to sort out things, which given the experience of the attempts to filter SPAM won't be very successful. Of course, they are the government, and have "resources", but they also have a budget, and while their acts can't (or won't, I don't know) be under scrutiny, budgets are always fair game.
You're spending how many Kroner on WHAT?? And got WHAT??
As was said before "You have no privacy, get over it" (but I haven't!!).
Well, it's one way of ensuring a zero carbon footprint of your nation's IT resources, force companies to host them anywhere but in your own country out of fear of violating EU privacy regulations. I at least most certainly would hope that no-one is of the illusion that any commercial enterprise would move its servers elsewhere because it actually believes in privacy....
If it goes via America our data's being spyed on, so what's the problem with Sweden doing it. If more countries joined in it may even agitate the yanks which has got to be a good thing.
I want my privacy protected, but while we continualy vote people into power because we detest them the lease we'll never get any where.
Paris because we're all getting f*cked
"While I am against all laws of this type, it's no more sinister or draconian than what we have here in the US" .. "Having said that, these types of laws will only catch the stupid criminals"
Nitpick: Note that the USA is not the benchmark against which to compare when trying to decide whether something is acceptable or not. Thus, "no more sinister" is not the expression to use - "about as sinister" is what you are looking for.
Having said that, I would think these types of laws will not catch a lot of criminals. Broad-spectrum search is not about catching criminals but about sniffing out or "discovering" suspects or "potential" law-breakers, i.e. it's a work-procurement program for sparse resources which might be better employed elsewhere. Of course, they make perfect sense if industrial espionage or political surveillance is what you are interested in (yeah, France, I'm looking at you).
Fat Tux because he's from the north too and would not like being probed.
"In our society we have no major crimes...but we do have a detention camp full of would-be criminals."
--From a 1956 PKD short-story about precognition (Minority Reprot).
Given the random nature of internet data travel, wouldn't it be ironic if this ended up as a wiretap on US communications and somewhat sweet revenge for their pilfering of our private data.
Personally I only see this as a problem for governments or people living in Sweden, as it seems fairly unlikely that the Swedish police will be interested in the general public living outside of their country - unless that general public plans to visit Sweden in the company of a few kilos of nose candy or something similar. I suppose if someone's had a credit card stolen, which was then used to pay for online child porn, that might be a bit of a worry - but then most of those unfortunates have already had their names dragged through the mire.
So they're watching us? Well join the rest of the world, because if you believe this isn't happening in the UK or US, or indeed any other western nation, you're sadly naive to say the least. Just because you have privacy laws and warrentless tapping is eventually found to be illegal (again - it's odd how it suddenly became a legal practice in the US isn't it) doesn't mean they aren't doing it. The US fun and games with AT&T and warrentless phone tapping is surely proof that something as flexible as the law will not stand in their way.
Umm...penguins? in the North?
Here! Here! No one in the main stream media ever seems to hit on this point. If your party is in power, say for example the Republicans, and you want it to stay that way, and you have unrestricted access to all communications channels, you would, of course, not take a wee peek here and there at what your major competition is doing, right? Even if the election were close? And it was `..the defining election of our modern (read post 9/11) time, upon which the very survival of your way of life depends'? I mean, who would do such a thing that clearly flies in the face of a free and democratic peoples?
But hey, that's America, right? Would anyone in Sweden, government or industry (states explicitly some industry WILL have access), use this information for anything but the greater good of protecting the population from fanatical terrorists? Would say, someone at Ericsson maybe want a little leg up on what their competition at Nokia is up to? Just a peek isn't really cheating, right?
Let every country pass a law barring their spy agencies from spying on their own citizens. Now how do they keep an eye on their own people? Simple, Tex calls Cyril and suggests that he might want to check out so-and-so or network-such-and-such and you're done. Cyril, being a good sport, will let Tex know if anything of interest pops up. It's so good to have allies, isn't it?
The head of each country's agencies can then take great umbrage at any suggestion that they would spy on the 'citizens of this great land'.
Do you really think that you can have any hope of maintaining any privacy on the net or anywhere else? Do you really believe that?
There is a way around any restriction you might think you can put in place (if it isn't just secretly ignored).
Paranoia or reality?
...the inevitable quote (can't believe nobody put it in here before):
_quis custodiet custard?_
Something our winkles elucidate successfully, ergo crustaceans reminisce erotic transactions longingly, yet safe emblems never define satisfying trumpets under false fronts.
Why waste time with PGP or steganography?
Just make it all a puzzle that no one likely to remain sane can resolve?
Covert action are best confronted by people talking to people, not combing infinity.
I think you've hit the nail squarely on the noggin there, mate. Any advantage in knowing what septic business the Septics are up to, or any other hostile power for that matter, can only be a good thing.
That said, the SÄPO goons had no problem whatsoever in letting the CIA drag a brown people out of Bromma Airport straight to an Egyptian testicle-frying facility, so one might wonder what gives.
Give the citizens enough rope (email, etc) and let it out just enough (widely available Internet access) and just when you have them hooked, yank back REAL hard.
Basically, all Governments dream of access to your data/life/thoughts at the cheapest possible price of surveillance.
Look out for more of this.
Internet II anyone?
I guess we need to know the Swedish word for echelon then.
With the amount of net traffic a certain TPB generates in and out of Sweden's borders, I hope their storage arrays will be up to the task.
Motherfucking echelon, those greasy bastards. If all the spooks worldwide were executed tomorrow the whole world would become a MUCH safer place. The majority of funding for terrorism comes from drug money rerouted by spys. It's the CIA modus operandi and I'm sure the other fucking assclowns in the various spook groups do the same. These crazy paranoid parasites are the real problem with their civil service mentality. Yes Minister with poison gas.
FRA has a brand new Hewlett-Packard Cluster Platform 3000 BL460c system. It was measured at 102.8 TFlop/s.
This should be enough to analyze all communications in Sweden, including TPB.
....back in 1970 a few government officials from NATO countries gathering in the US to discuss this network thing, just suppose we can get technology cheap enough to get everyone in the world on it, we'll get it tested make sure the plebs are having fun, then we'll slowly tighten the screws and lock down the information and start tracking people, oh yes a few of the more savvy plebs will cry out but most people are pretty stupid, they'll just be too blinded by the technology to see what we're up to.
To paraphrase a little Bill Hicks:
"Go back to sleep societies of the world, your governments are in control. Go back to your internet, your Brittney, Big Brother, your Facebook and your daytime TV chat shows, grow fat and stupid. We are keeping you safe, it's all under control, no need to fear."
The best you can hope for now is to make sure your dodgy activities are less dodgy than the next guy, still not to worry the polar ice caps are melting rapidly so soon most of the northern hemisphere will be under 10 metres of sea-water so the internet will be the least of our worries!
"I'd Tap That"
*Google* is concerned about other peoples' attitude to privacy?
A company that keyword scans every e-mail on its servers?
That retains pseudo-anonymised indexed, catalogued, personal data for an indeterminate time?
I think my ironymeter (tm) has just exploded.....
Has the dog been chipped?
I moved to Sweden just over 3 months ago and privacy seems to be a concept that doesn't exist. There are numerous websites where you can go and find out my name, address, telephone number and birthdate, and its very hard to get them removed. Not only that but you can walk into any tax office here and get any persons salary!
The silence from the media is probably because this is considered normal to the folk over here, they are more concerned with Charlotte Perreli coming 18th in Eurovision...
Will those words be in English or Swedish?
.... doesn't the nature of TCP/IP mean that there's no guarentee that packets from an email, or VOIP, will follow the same route to a destination. Packet 1 goes via Sweden, Packet 2 goes via Norway etc etc.
That means they'll get only sporadic packets with no way of putting them back together.
Saying that, the idea of US traffic being routed through Sweden and getting tapped does make me chuckle. Lets see the US spooks flap now.
"....back in 1970 a few government officials from NATO countries gathering in the US to discuss this network thing, just suppose we can get technology cheap enough to get everyone in the world on it, we'll get it tested make sure the plebs are having fun, then we'll slowly tighten the screws and lock down the information and start tracking people, oh yes a few of the more savvy plebs will cry out but most people are pretty stupid, they'll just be too blinded by the technology to see what we're up to"
'yeh, and we'll do it all with a whopping 640k RAM!!' - Bill Gates, 1981
"This should be enough to analyze all communications in Sweden, including TPB."
But what about amanfrommars?
More seriously, unless they've got some software that has pass the Turing test, all they will be doing is a first pass filter. I think we can judge the state of the art in that field by the quality of anti-spam measures. Swedish politicians may have been sold on the idea by more outlandish claims, but Swedish spooks probably realise the limitations. (If not, they'll soon find out.)
For purely technical reasons, then, the only filtering and analysis that will go on will be "is this message to or from somebody already under suspicion?". As others have noted, this probably happens already, so the change is that it is now out in the open (that is, legal).
Can we have a Great Auk pic to use when replying to comments that are full of shit.
Sharing it with IT is Intelligence, is it not?
"planned to move email servers out of Sweden to protect the privacy of its Finnish customers." It would be just too naive to think that a move to anywhere else would not result in the same concerns being expressed, with information shared being shared with a wwwider (more intelligent) audience.
And with Uncle Sam phishing for Juicy Metadata within the Google Hot House Flower, it is somewhat ingenuous to read .."When the bill was introduced in early 2007, Google was reportedly so concerned about its consequences for privacy that it threatened to limit its ties to the country if the measure passed.
"We have contacted Swedish authorities to give our view of the proposal and we have made it clear that we will never place any servers inside Sweden's borders if the proposal goes through," Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, said last year,..."
All in all ..... another Storm in a Teacup/Amateur Pissing Rights Contest for Boys yet to Grow into Men.
"The head of each country's agencies can then take great umbrage at any suggestion that they would spy on the 'citizens of this great land'."
That's basically what the Echelon program is.
France, US and the UK already intercepts EVERYthing that I touch so why shouldn't the Swedes have a peek too.
That cluster they bought is used by the Swedish defense department and it was delivered LAST year (presumably ordered in 2006 and possibly agreed earlier).
The admission that they spy on only satellite traffic doesn't wash, they wouldn't need the worlds 5th most powerful parallel computing cluster to do that. Sweden has the 84th ranked population but needs the 5th ranked computer to spy on just their satellite traffic??? No.
How do you intercept outgoing signals from a satellite dish aimed at a satellite??? You'd need a receiver between the satellite dish and the satellite, so they don't do that. His story that they only intercept stuff freely transmitted over the air must be false.
Read Wik's comment (original+english):
"Samhälle Förre överdirektören Anders Wik medger att FRA redan har i uppgift att avlyssna telefonsamtal. Society Former General Anders Wik acknowledges that the FRA has already been tasked to intercept telephone calls. "På det här sättet blir det lagligt", säger han om den omstridda FRA-lagen. "In this way, it will be lawful," he says about the controversial FRA Act."
The telephone tapping admission is particularly telling, since the satellite signal is narrow beam, his claim that signals transmitted over the air are free to tap can't be true since telephone signals don't go by satellite now. It means they plugged themselves into the phone switches. But it would be illegal for the defence department to tap the telephones.
My guess is they've done this for a few years secretly and illegally and tried a few times to make it legal. They then ordered a big bad-ass computer to mine that data, someone in the government took notice of the defence department's purchase and now they're in major ass covering mode.
Hence the law gets dusted off again and the whips try to force it through.
Morph must now be heading into the nordic area for some more business, I would presume.
@Darling Petunia "Just make it all a puzzle that no one likely to remain sane can resolve?"
Step up, amanfromMars - Earth needs you!
age of mail clients plugins that will insert random chosen words to jam the spooks filters.
Here goes: Sweden Bin Laden attack terrorist with blonde hair
Hopefully, now, and provided El Reg has swedish readers, I'm now being read by something else than a program at FRA. Gotcha, you chap from FRA !
Anon, just to make sure they'll have to go to El Reg to ask for logs, and then my employer, before coming to me and giving me a good laugh :-)
GCHQ have been routinely monitoring all electronic comms in the UK for at least a decade.
You must be very naive to believe that your comms isn't being monitored these days :(
The penguin because he symbolises our freedom - slaughtered before our eyes
For all us oldies who remember the days before Echelon, this is like a blast from the past. Well, for some of us anyway. Me, and a few others? Anyone else? <8-0
Anywho, all we need is for everyone to add a little "Carnivore Bait" at the end of every email they send; that way, the system'll just keep triggering on false positives and the spooks'll get nothing useful...
Oh bugger, that's me guilty of supporting terrorism then - guess my next ElReg contribution will be sent via Gitmo :-(
Carnivore Bait (example):
M16, terrorists, open warfare, bomb, secret code, the Target superstore on the 192 has a reasonable selection of GIJoe 3&3/4" figures with guns and tanks and jeeps and attack helicopters, wait what's that hovering overhead, bye-bye...
Who watches the custard? Your mom probably ;)
NEway, you probably meant 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes' (or 'who watches the watchmen?')
This is where spam botnets could really come in handy...
Set up spam to be sent out, ensuring that whatever the destination, a hop appears inside sweden (or UK or US for that matter) discussing bombings or similar.
The filters will pick it up, so the govt would have a HELL of a lot to "be pulled aside for additional scrutiny".
Finally a worthwhile, moral use for bot nets. HOORAY! Please, spammers, read this and help us all and I won't be as bothered with you sending me so many adverts for penis extensions or viagra that I don't need.
"Umm...penguins? in the North?"
Certainly - many northern zoos have penguins...
I love the word assclown, it makes me warm and happy inside.
On a serious note, now is the time to start sending e-mails detailing decepticon attacks to Finnish friends.
"doesn't the nature of TCP/IP mean that there's no guarentee that packets from an email, or VOIP, will follow the same route to a destination. Packet 1 goes via Sweden, Packet 2 goes via Norway etc etc."
Yes, but in practice the local administrators for each network steer "through traffic" through relatively few routes and just one of those will probably be the best (on cost or performance metrics). I imagine that the whole of a given session between points A and C will either miss B (Sweden in this case) entirely or travel through it over a single route.
Has Google ever heard of Echelon ?
The intelligence collection and analysis network ? Operated for the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (cf. Wikipedia)
Sweden is trying to get this bill passed that would allow them to build their own version of Echelon and Google reacts.
But .. erhm... Google has almost ALL their servers in the US.. which operates Echelon. Aren't they being a bit silly ?
A couple of comments:
"How do you intercept outgoing signals from a satellite dish aimed at a satellite???"
You either position your own (or a hired satellite) within the uplink beam path -or- you *tap* the wires or microwave link before they get to the satellite uplink dish.
"since telephone signals don't go by satellite now.", um a lot if not all international traffic would - and in a spook-tastic way that's the one you would want to look at.
As for interception of radio-wave traffic. That is probably the quickest to hit on as you don't need to do anything to the circuit (as in "tap") you just need some bent wire tossed out of the black windowed building in the middle of the field your in :-)
Interception of something/anything will always go on, no matter if it is law or not.
Ey Up. Great Awk day (4th June) has apparently been subsumed this year by World Environment Day. The image that had occasionally been circulated (without copyright permission if any existed; although, honest guv, it was for academic purposes only...) doesn't immediately show on searches of the St Andrews website whence it came, and where the date of the Awks' extinction had, perhaps erroneously, been given as the 5th June.
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