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Reply All? Swedish Government Checking Citizens' Emails

Reply All? Swedish Government Checking Citizens' Emails


She looks so happy checking her email in her Ikea-esque room! Too bad if she was actually in Sweden, she'd be hopping mad that her government was checking her email for her. A new law that provides the Swedish government the right to read all emails and listen to all phone calls crossing the country’s borders has outraged its citizens — who've harnessed build-your-own-irony and filed 2 million protests — online. The petition arrives as EU countries debate whether or not to grant governmental authorities previously unheard of domestic spying powers over their own citizens.

Unlike the United States, many European nations have already had the experience of their government spying and for hardly honorable reasons. “It looks too much like the Stasi,” said one Swedish citizen referring to the East German police during the Soviet Union’s influence in that country. The "you've got mail, and we can read it" law, which passed the Swedish Parliament by 142-138 votes gives their National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA) the right to scan all international phone calls, emails and faxes without court order beginning in the new year.

Proponents for the new law said, “The information is needed to evaluate, and meet, outside threats against Sweden.” And went on to stress the need to protect Sweden against terror attacks similar to those in New York, Madrid and London. Is checking inboxes the way to keep terrorism in check?

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