In a fit of fear inspired by terrorism and Internet crime, former privacy-is-sacred country Sweden has decided to change their laws regarding digital privacy. This week, a law will be voted on that would give Swedish government and police forces the ability to fully monitor phone, email, and Internet traffic going into and out of the country.
Additionally, because Sweden is used to routing data to its European neighbors, it would give those Agencies access to the data headed to nearby countries. That means you.
Google gave a statement to the Times Online, saying
“We have made it clear to the Swedish authorities that we will never place any Google servers in Sweden if this proposition becomes reality…This proposal seems like something invented by Saudi Arabia and China. It has no place in a Western democracy.”
This statement is slightly bizarre considering their history of cooperation with the Chinese government in censoring their C-Google page (searching Tibet brings up “Did you mean ‘A STAY IN CRAZY CHINESE PRISON?’). But hey, every little bit helps.
What does it mean for the red blooded American who uses the Internet? Well, first off, any type of law like this passing, in ANY country, serves as a bad example. ‘Hey it worked for the Swedes, maybe we should do it.’ (As if we already aren’t…)
Then there’s the bittorrent issue: There are already some musings from the underground that this entire thing is motivated by the inability to bust the many software and music pirating sites that are based out of Scandinavian countries (salute the pirate ship as it passes, gentlemen). You’d be surprised how many of your ‘sample’ albums, movies and software suites come from fine Scandinavian countries.
In all seriousness, that’s really only a small part of why this is a problem. Wrestling control of the Internet from the people and handing it over to the ‘power structure’ appropriates one of mankind’s greatest inventions. I hate the term ‘a slippery slope’ (Slip and Slide accident) but this slope is mad slippery. It’s all icy and shit. With like, NO grips at ALL. [TimesOnline.co.uk]
(Image source: Zdnet.com)