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Ex-Defense Minister

Swedish Politician Resigns Over Surveillance Law

Published måndag 16 februari 2009 kl 10.48
Anders Björck

Another blow has been delivered to the Swedish center-right government’s controversial new law expanding the monitoring of all incoming telecommunications in the hunt for criminals and terrorists.

Swedish provincial governor and former conservative defense minister Anders Björck has resigned as head of the Swedish Defense Surveillance Board - the body set up to monitor military intelligence and the work of the defense radio unit which is to supervise the new law.

He argues that the expanded monitoring of all incoming e-mail and telephone calls would be too costly, too ineffective and endanger people’s personal integrity.

After a blast of criticism over the new law coming even from center-right parliamentarians, the Swedish defense minister has promised to come up with guarantees that the law would not be misused.

The sharpest critics point out that the new law gives the authorities the power to monitor communication even if no suspicions exist.

This has been condemned by European Union authorities and in non-EU member Norway, formal complaints charge that the Swedish law illegally infringes on communication coming from neighboring Norway.

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