FRA Issues

The proposed law of allowing the Swedish national defence radio establishment FRA to scan any internet traffic leaving Sweden has brought up a lot of protests. Today hundreds gathered outside the riksdag in protest against it.

Although I am worried, I have strong hopes in that the European court of human rights will overthrow the law in the end, as it constitutes massive surveillance of all citizens without discrimination. That is, having wire taps on certain internet connections (i.e. all traffic to and from a specific end point IP address) might be reasonable for the police in order to fight crime; but what the law will introduce is generic deep packet inspection and searching for keywords in all traffic bound to a non swedish destination (for example gmail, hotmail or any other site outside the state). Note that interior traffic is in many cases routed past the borders due to the nature of the internet, so spying on foreign traffic only is impossible to guarantee technically.

Also, monitoring the traffic into other EU states would be spying on their allies and neighbours. The European integration has bound the states and citizens of Europe together, and more and more Europeans are moving to other states, so the deep packet scans will even if they can be guaranteed to only target foreign traffic automatically pick up traffic between thousands of Swedes (100k living in the UK for example), which was not the purpose of the law.

I will not rehash everything here as so many other bloggers have done that already, but the fact that the law proposal which is inherently unconstitutional and not compliant with European law has made it so far suggests that there are problems in the Swedish law making process.

Firstly, I would say that it is now more important than ever before that a constitutional court is established with the role to try law proposals on their compliancy with the Swedish constitution and European law.

The second item that is of interest is that the parliamentarians that have suggested that they oppose the law is more afraid of the party whip than of the people that have elected them. The entire affair has lead me to see the advantage of a majority based system such as the one in the UK. Not that I like that kind of system in general since it result in a massive misrepresentation in the parliament in the UK. What Sweden need now, is a federal constitution that introduce a bicameral parliament. On chamber would then have proportional representation, and then the second would be a majority elected senate and thus directly responsible to the people. Such a senator would be possible to discharge at any time following a vote of no confidence in the district the person was elected in.

As a side note, despite that the current government is doing a great job in general, I would be happy to see it fall because of this.