Criticism of The FRA Law

Criticism Of The FRA Law

The FRA law (FRA-lagen in Swedish) is a Swedish legislative package that authorizes the Swedish state to warrantlessly wiretap all telephone and Internet traffic that crosses Sweden's borders. It was passed by the Parliament of Sweden on June 18, 2008, by a vote of 143 to 138 (with one delegate abstaining and 67 delegates not present) and took effect on January 1, 2009.

In more detail, "FRA-law" is the common name for a new law as well as several modifications to existing laws, formally called Government proposal 2006/07:63 – Changes to defence intelligence activities (Swedish proposition 2006/07:63 – En anpassad försvarsunderrättelseverksamhet). It was introduced as anti-terrorism legislation, and gives the government agency Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA, Swedish Försvarets radioanstalt) the right to conduct signals intelligence on - to intercept - all internet exchange points that exchange traffic that crosses Swedish borders, though experts argue that it is impossible to differentiate between international traffic and traffic between Swedes.

News reports from Sweden's state broadcast network and other sources report that FRA have in fact been conducting eavesdropping on Swedish citizens for a decade. According to the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment's Director-General, Ingvar Åkesson, they destroy the data collected after eighteen months, but they confirm that they have, in fact, been collecting information not just on foreigners but also on Swedes as the presence of Swedish search terms used on the data would indicate.

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