So who’s paying for Sweden’s FRA-lagen, avlyssning?

The answer to who will end up paying for this law is simple, the Swedish consumer. The FRA is going to visit the government to ask them to make the ISPs take the charge, and then the cost is passed onto the broadband subscriber.

So this means that every online Swede will be paying to be monitored by Swedish Intelligence. Well you know, if you happen to be one of these Swedish resident you know that this will be for your own good and the country’s good, it doesn’t matter whether you are a terrorist or not!

Sweden approves wiretapping laws, more

You know there has been an awful lot of press going on here in Sweden following parliament’s approval of the controversial law on wire-tapping. Effectively the FRA-law makes Sweden the most surveyed country in western Europe. This wiretapping law enables the intelligence authorities here to ‘listen’ on all traffic -Hotmail, msn, sms, etc., across Sweden’s borders. The law becomes effective in 15 months, or this is when intelligence can start listening.

That this law has been passed is quite remarkable. It was following some pretty heated discussions in parliament and the final vote was 47 against with 53 for. The argument for tapping of international lines is ‘terrorism’. The problem is that government officials in general -it doesn’t matter which country this is- are easily influenced by the ‘fear’ of terrorism as heightened by media leading to some hysteria. They just don’t get it, you know that terrorists will just encrypt their communications, so the government will be wasting a whole load of tax payers money (and there is a lot in Sweden) on this pointless project.

Of course one can always monitor ‘traffic patterns’ which can be as revealing as the communications’ contents themselves in certain situations, but really when doing a mass analysis of data, one needs start with communications’ contents to create the needed rules, and to narrow down the scope to a realistic size that can be monitored effectively.

So they will be listening and reading ‘innocent’ traffic and be able to do traffic analysis on the encrypted traffic. I wonder how this is going to help the fight against terrorism? Then of course we can speculate on what comes next? After all the passing of one such law just opens the flood gates for a whole load more laws that invade our privacy. What about the blood bank they have on all newborns since 1976? This is offidically used for ‘research’ but on 1 occasion since used to convict a killer by his DNA, and then the law was modified to enable it to be used to identify victims of the Tsunami disaster. What will be next?

I would expect Swedish authorities to be a hot contender for the ‘Big Brother Awards’ for 2008 and 2009. Maybe they will win, such an honour to bestow on a country with such a long reputation for human rights.

A right to privacy in the workplace?

Greenville County employees have “no expectation of privacy” on county computers and may be monitored if there is reason to suspect misuse, a policy that underscores what many employees ignore but may now be thinking: The boss is watching. In fact the ‘expectation’ of no privacy in the workplace is normal in the U.S. If any of my blog readers are U.S. residents, then please correct me if you feel that this statement is wrong.

In the E.U. there are in most countries laws in place that protect the privacy of the individual, however these do not extend to the workplace that is seen as a private network. A couple of countries have enacted some laws protecting the privacy of employees, but it is not uniformly applied. Although in the E.U. it is implied that employees have a right to privacy, this right is not -in general- enforced. It is an interesting area. Should we have a right to privacy in the workplace?

The erosion of an individual’s privacy rights in the U.K.

Nothing really new here, but some interesting conversations going on in the U.K. concerning increasing intrusiveness of privacy rights for those residing in the U.K.

The Associated Press reports that a senior British lawmaker quit Parliament yesterday based on what he describes as the government’s steady erosion of the country’s civil liberties. Opposition Conservative Party member David Davis made the announcement after Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government won another vote to tighten terrorism laws, says the AP report. Davis said he will force and win a special election based on a campaign to stop the “slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms.” “We will have shortly the most intrusive identity card system in the world. A CCTV camera for every 14 citizens, a DNA database bigger than any dictatorship has, with thousands of innocent children and millions of innocent citizens on it,” Davis said.

Human rights groups claim Brown and his predecessor, Tony Blair, have eroded a long list of freedoms, often in the name of national security — imposing limits on protests near Parliament and government sites, handing police powers to civilian support staff and imposing virtual house arrests on some terrorism suspects. Read more..

Child pornography blocked in the U.S.

Wow, how about this for a development in the U.S. “ALBANY — Verizon, Sprint and Time Warner Cable have agreed to block access to Internet bulletin boards and Web sites nationwide that disseminate child pornography. ” Read more here.

The move is part of a groundbreaking agreement with the New York attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, that will be formally announced on Tuesday as a significant step by leading companies to curtail access to child pornography. Many in the industry have previously resisted similar efforts, saying they could not be responsible for content online, given the decentralized and largely unmonitored nature of the Internet.

Billboards with camaras

Well the latest on advertising is that two startups have developed electronic billboards with tiny cameras that garner information about passers-by, such as their gender, approximate age, and time spent viewing the billboard. So if the person standing in front of the display is a middle-aged white woman, for example, the display can change to show an ad appropriate to her. Such billboards are currently being tested in cities nationwide. The companies say they have no plans to store the images their cameras pick up, but privacy advocates and consumers are concerned about what they perceive to be street side surveillance. Read more….

June wonderings

You know May has been a tough month. So busy that I didn’t have anytime for myself, or my blog. I travelled an awful alot. On Saturday 7th June I will be 45 years old and I will have a birthday party. First one I’ve had since I was a child. I feel that I have something to celebrate, although this week has not been fun, too much fire-fighting. My party should be fun though!

My book has gone to the publishers, I’ll post more on this later. However with a bit of luck it will come out during Autumn.

Weather is quite amazing, I should take time out and just absorb the beautiful Swedish summer that has come early….