Justice Minister Beatrice Ask

Police Should Have Right to Spy

The Swedish government is launching a new investigation into broadening its recently implemented FRA surveillance law to give its police force the power to order signal surveillance to be carried out on the evidence of information obtained from the monitoring of all cross-border e-mail and telephone traffic.

The hugely controversial "anti-terrorism" law which came into effect in December last year , authorized the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) to monitor and intercept all cross-border e-mail and telephone traffic. The law's many critics say that it's an invasion of civil liberties while the government says that it will monitor only international traffic and it won't mean eavesdropping on everyday Swedes.

Following lengthy debate, the law regulating FRA-monitoring was watered down, allowing only the government and the military authorities access to the wiretapping information.The Swedish Police Security Service, SÄPO, has been extremely critical of this ammendement which excludes it from being able to access information and order any signal intelligence to be carried out. SÄPO maintains that the information it would gain from such intellligence is vital to its crime solving capabilities.

Swedish justice minister Beatrice Ask told Swedish Radio News that the security services protect the country against terrorism and needed access to the information gleamed from the wiretapping.

The new investigation will look at ways of allowing police access whilst protecting civil liberties.

Whilst Sweden was looking at widening the scope of its wiretapping law, Germany's highest court on Tuesday overturned its law that let anti-terror authorities retain data on telephone calls and e-mails, saying it marked a "grave intrusion" into personal privacy rights and must be revised.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the law violated Germans' constitutional right to private correspondence and failed to balance privacy rights against the need to provide security.

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