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In Grand Deceivefest, Swedish Parliament Just Voted For Data Retention

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Privacy

Privacy

Swedish Parliament just voted 233-41 to introduce Data Retention in Sweden, as per the EU directive from 2004. Despite many countries having struck down the directive as utterly incompatible with human rights – all of those who have challenged it, in fact – the Swedish politicians persisted in deception to abolish our most basic rights to privacy, as well as lying through their teeth.

Data Retention, as implemented in Sweden, basically means that all your communications are logged so that the Police can check whom you have been talking to, when, how, and from where. That last part, “from where”, turns your mobile phone into a governmental tracking device that will essentially follow your movements in real time as well as historically.

This has been one of the most filthy, deceptive political campaigns to introduce a massive Big Brother law I have ever seen. Its only parallel is when the general wiretapping was introduced in 2008, and I’m pissed off as all hell. There have been attempts at deception of every conceivable kind.

Deceptions of cost. Proponents have been claiming that the European Commission will fine Sweden if we don’t introduce the Data Retention Directive, and that it would be an “irresponsible waste of taxpayer money” to not introduce it. This is mind-boggling argumentation, as it costs taxpayers many, many times more to implement the mechanisms of Data Retention that robs all citizens of their privacy.

Deceptions of effectiveness. Proponents claim that the massive erosion of privacy will be useful for “combating organized crime”; anybody who claims so is clinically and medically dumb. If I don’t want to be tracked, I can do that absolutely trivially – I can just stand outside any McDonald’s, Pressbyrån newskiosk, long-range bus, or any other facility with a free wi-fi and communicate there. Even without that, I can trivially make phonecalls that evade the data retention and internet connections that do. If I can do it, then of course organized crime can too. This hits the ordinary citizen, not organized crime. Additionally and honorably, one Swedish ISP – Bahnhof – has already said that it will circumvent the law’s intention while following it to the letter, giving the government no trackability of its customers whatsoever. (If my current ISP doesn’t adopt the same stance, I will switch in a heartbeat.)

Additionally, a Germany study concluded that the data retention had only helped on 0.002% of criminal cases. Yes, you read that right: zero point zero zero two per cent. In other words, hiring two new police officers is more effective for fighting crime than this abomination.

Deceptions and hypocrisy of human rights. Just last week, a person from a supposedly liberal party claimed that it is a human right to not inhale smoke at outdoor restaurants (about a possible extension of the ban on smoking). That same person will vote yes to tracking every citizen’s movement and registering all of their communications if the government wants to use it against them. That is just so hypocritical, I don’t know where to begin.

In Sweden, if you’re sentenced to a jail term of less than six months, you get the option of an electronic tracking collar, confining you to move in certain areas (work and home, essentially). Tracking somebody’s location is a violation of freedom equivalent to a jail term, in other words, in the eyes of the Swedish justice system. And this is what the policitians impose on the entire population.

Deceptions about the EU directive. There have been many attempts at handwashing by saying “The EU forces us to do this”. At the same time, the politicians are enacting a law that goes above the EU’s minimum levels of data retention. Further, the claim is nonsense to begin with: Sweden is a sovereign nation and if Sweden decides to not destroy the privacy of its own citizens, there is absolutely nothing the EU Commission can do about that. The EU can say “you owe us a fine”. Sweden has the freedom to ignore that statement. (Further, Sweden happily ignores other EU directives since our entry into the EU in 1995.)

In addition, there is a well-established process for challenging a directive, which the Swedish politicians have chosen not to use.

Deceptions of Sweden’s reputation. There has also been attempts at shaming Sweden as a nation from politicians, saying “all other EU member states have already done this; it’s only us who are late and it’s embarrassing!”. Plain outright lie. In reality, a full third of EU’s member states — nine out of 27 — have refused to implement it or has struck down its implementation as incompatible with human rights. That is an astounding embarrassment for the European Commission in such a high-profile directive, and yet, Swedish politicians keep lying about how Sweden is the only bad boy in class.

Deception of the journalistic corps. This kills reporters’ right obligation to protect their sources overnight. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that.

Our politicians have been standing on television and lying through their teeth about this!

You have Johan Linander (C), who has solemnly said “I am forced to vote yes and wash my hands”. What bullshit! The man is hired to press one of three buttons – yes, no, or abstain – and he refuses to take the responsibility the taxpayers pay him good money for!

There are even worse people. There is a party that used to be liberal, but now is the most repressive, regressive, 1950s-romantic party while still using the word “liberal” (and thereby causing real liberals to cringe). You have Johan Pehrson (FP), who goes “as a liberal, I want more powers to the police and less human rights. That is good for corporate profits and a richer Sweden”. This man is also known as “the lawnmower man” from his ridiculous argumentation about the copyright monopoly (he compares sharing knowledge to stealing lawnmowers).

As a final note, this derailment of the concept of human rights that is called traffic data retention was the direct trigger of the Swedish Pirate Party’s creation. Check for yourself: the directive was adopted in the European Parliament on December 14, 2005. The domain for the Pirate Party, piratpartiet.se, was silently registered on December 16 for the now-famous launch on January 1, 2006.

Now, we will defeat this abomination in the courts and in the polling stations. And you 233 spineless shameless invertebrates who voted yes today – not only are you not doing your job, but I will devote the next several years of my life to kicking you out of office. You have no place in any building of dignity.

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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30

  1. 1

    This just makes me soooo mad. Sweden is supposed to be an inspiration, not becoming the bitch of Western powers.

    • 1.1
      Hildegard von Bingen

      I’m not sure what you and Falk are complaining about. You both think that the correct way to run a country is mob rule (Democracy) and so when it goes like this, against your personal views, you get exactly what you deserve.

      In Democracy, you have no rights, save what the mob says you do. You don’t even have the right to educate your own children in a way that suits you. You are all vassals and property of the State. The truly astonishing thing is that you all still believe in Democracy as an article of faith, and anyone that suggests that you are wrong is set aside as a heretic on principle.

      Falk, and all the Sweedish ‘Pirate Party’ people. need, as a matter of urgency, to fundamentally examine your core beliefs and assumptions about the proper role of government. If you do not do this and come to the conclusion that democracy is pure evil, then stop writing these outraged articles complaining about it. You are getting exactly the system you advocate, where majority rules.

      Someone needs to confront you people and your sick delusions. I just did it.

      • 1.1.1
        DavidXanatos

        Well, but this decision was not made in a democratic way, but bought by the lobbyists for money.
        the 1 percent bought a law that benefits only the 1%
        and what the politics did was plain treason they are supposed to act according to the will of the 99% and not the oposit.

      • 1.1.2
        gurra

        It goes like this when corporate lobbyism is used to destroy democracy. USA is just as “democratic” as former Soviet Russia was. Big Corporations and their leaders have become the equivalent of the “party elite” in that other empire.

        Entrepreneurship and Innovation is being struck down to protect the current kings of the hill at all costs. Probably it is all in vain here in Europe. The eastern half of Europe and the EU has already been where we are heading, and they didn’t like it even one BIT.

      • 1.1.3
        Frank

        This is probably the most insanely truthful thing I’ve ever read on the internet, congratulations sir.

      • 1.1.4
        Frank

        Hildegard von Bingen, that was the most insanely truthful thing I’ve ever read.

      • 1.1.5
        what the fuck are you smoking?

        ( A representative vote is not an example of “mob rule” as stated. Democracy in Sweden is also not the same as mob rule or this blog post would be a rant against a popular vote by the people of Sweden. )

        Do you have evidence that these representatives even consulted the population at large about this issue? It surely appears that they did not and do not care much for what their constituents desire!

      • 1.1.6
        Scary Devil Monastery

        “You both think that the correct way to run a country is mob rule (Democracy)…”

        Democracy is evil? OK, no, Democracy is, like Churchill said, the worst form of government – save for all other systems ever tried. In short it’s the least of two great evils.

        The most beneficial rule is that of the enlightened despot, where one benevolent genius is able to guide a nation to prosperity. And if said genius was incorruptible and immortal there would be no problems.

        The disadvantage – and it’s a whammy of one – is that immortal geniuses do not exist. When a totalitarian system – any totalitarian system – is occupied by one single successor who is self-serving and ambitious…that’s when you see real harm.

        I could argue that the absolutely worst harm is simple incompetence in the hands of absolute rule.

        And totalitarianism is, unfortunately, the only possible alternative to democracy. Without any central form of government whatsoever what you end up with is a paradigm where might makes right. Historically speaking that only changes when human nature does. The same way communism can not work in practice the liberal anarchy is already hopelessly impractical.

        Democracy, ideally run, is a way which allows every vested interest to hammer out a compromise acceptable to all. The drawbacks of said system is, of course, that it requires unceasing vigilance to preserve it or else it backslides into either a bureaucracy or totalitarianism for all intents and purposes.

        Sheeple, by and large, are unwilling to maintain said vigilance. Which is why we end up with negative fallout.

        Now that I have fed the troll i suspect is lurking behind your ill-spelled and vitriolic commentary, I should advice you to at least try to be more entertaining in your next attempt. Or bring a bit more persuasive argumentation to the table.

        • Rafinius

          Nice that there is someone to counter-argument that guy. While it seems that most people should already know the stuff you said there are enough people that are actually not stupid and still believe stuff like that.

      • 1.1.7
        Mikael Smitt

        For those who think majority rule/democracy is a good idea

        4chan

        I rest my case

        • Scary Devil Monastery

          4chan is a liberal anarchy and goes a long way towards making the point i outlined above. That said, 4chan is not a government with a legal monopoly of violence.

          There is quite a lot of difference.

          But if you believe an implicit argument that the tone of social gatherings should be ruled by one fiat dictator or some sort of iron hard rule of law then by all means, rest your case.

          Personally I believe you are resting it on decidedly wobbly ground.

      • 1.1.8
        Billy

        You sir, are an utterly despicable human being.

        Democracy is the least evil of all systems tried. Monarchy, Despotisim, Facisim… all put too much power in the hands of utterly insane people. Democracy is less likely to do so.

        I put my faith in what I call a Constitutional Democracy, which ensures that all have equal rights regardless of age, skin color, gender, beliefs, lifestyle. Wait, I just described the Canadian Charter of Rights. Yay.

  2. 2
    Mikael Wallgren

    Indeed a tragic day. The greens and the Left wing party (x-communists) where the only liberals in the parlament today. What an irony…

  3. 3
    Mikael Wallgren

    Indeed a day of shame! Today the only liberals in the parlament where thoose from The greens and from the Left wing party (x-communists). Kind of ironic…

  4. 4
    Mr T

    Its just so weak to throw a smoke bomb called “Organised Crime”, they are not after that, they just want to make the deal with U.S.A, as Sweden did with the FRA law

    Why do you think Germany got so low rate on criminal cases with their data retation law? yes you guess it correctly, they are not after that, its also a smoke screen

    • 4.1
      Scary Devil Monastery

      To be fair Germany comes out of this smelling like roses. The one who took the data retention directive to the german supreme court was the minister of justice in Germany – i.e. a ranking member of their government. Backed, it has to be said, by the rest of the government and a vast majority of the body politic.

      After which the German constitutional court shredded the data retention directive, declaring it completely incompatible with the german constitution.

      I have vastly greater confidence in the german government in this case than i suddenly have for my own.

  5. 5
    Jay

    Is the text of the law online somewhere, preferably in English? And what about VPN service providers? Does the law say that they also have to log and store customer data, source and destination IPs? Or is it just the “normal” ISPs that fall under the law?

  6. [...] of the Swedish Pirate Party, has written the most sublime rant against the Swedish parliament: In Grand Deceivefest, Swedish Parliament Just Voted For Data Retention. I cannot do it justice and you must read it. This has been one of the most filthy, deceptive [...]

  7. 6
    slightlyanon

    (selling correction, final paragraph: i think “evertebrates” should be “invertebrates”)

    Goodluck and godspeed, Mr falkvinge.

    • 6.1
      Rick Falkvinge

      You’re right. Thanks, fixed.

      • 6.1.1

        Perhaps “evertebrates” is better. They probably didn’t start out as invertebrates…

        • Scary Devil Monastery

          Well, just because a certain kind of politician tends to undergo reversed evolution all the way down to “spineless worm” doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make the proper phylum classification based on their current status.

          We might want to make a case for them being classifiable as mentally and morally challenged but I doubt, unfortunately, that we can get them pensioned off as effectively disabled just because of that.

  8. 7
    Scary Devil Monastery

    I was sitting at the parliament and watching the debate. I literally had white knuckles clinging to my seat in rage. I watched as two proponents in the parliament – Elin Lundberg (S) and Johan Pehrson (FP) systematically marginalized every opposition – first with a flashback-troll tactic of implying anyone against the storage and registration of every citizens personal life must also be approving of violent crime. Complete with a straw man argument regarding what data retention had “solved” in other countries. Mrs Lundberg was apparently completely ignorant of – or worse, did not care – that her example was where a person directly supervised by french security agencies for years was caught thanks to directed surveillance.

    The other speaker made my blood run cold. Johan Pehrson held a brief speech which was identical in almost all respects to the ones held by erich Honecker, late last president of the DDR, as to why the east german people benefited greatly from the STASI. And this man calls himself a “liberal” – a definition where he in all earnest upholds that true “liberalism” apparently means that everyone can be free as soon as you’ve removed every freedom of choice which means you might also do wrong. In short? What I heard was the argument for Freedom being Slavery, exactly as argued by the “ministry of truth” in 1984. Not in a dystopian novel or a hollywood production, but in real life on the speaker’s floor of the swedish parliament!

    Now I know what a real terrorist is, in my bones. He’s the person who makes you afraid by the mere fact of his existence, his ideology, and the fact that he holds power over you. I saw him arrogantly proclaim that he would not hear arguments of liberalism when those arguments came from a leftist. And that there were no limits to what extent the state should go to make it’s citizenry feel “safe”.

    And there are 232 more terrorists, just like him, whom I now fear more than any odd maniac or evil man intent on blowing himself and others up in a street. We have survived terrorism for decades without any of the harm caused by a government seduced by the promises of power.

  9. 8
    Scary Devil Monastery

    What Bahnhof will apparently use seems to be NAT – native adress translation. Although this is not a bad option it does make for a marginally worse service. The tradeoff may very well be worth it.

    Personally I intend to question my own telecom company closely. I’m going to experiment and see how well VPN and skype will do. Skype, of course, is not ideal – owned by MS, so all that really does is ensure that any logs are kept by Microsoft instead.

    What we really need is a decentralized VoIP-system capable of functioning independently. I’m not sure there’s any such out there – peering/indexing of adresses being a clear problem without a central server. Or at the very least an open source version anonymizing your calls and contacts by default.

    • 8.1

      Try RetroShare… it uses openSLL (2048 bit), GPG keys for identification/communication and bittorrent networks Mainline DHT to find peers. And it will soon have voip (it seems it’s already implemented in the latest source comits, but the current “non-beta” version is from february and doesn’t have it.

      It’s not only for chat, it can be used for “internal” emails/forums as well. I really like the software, you might like it as well.

      • 8.1.1
        Scary Devil Monastery

        An alternative to Skype as soon as voice is fully supported perhaps. Unfortunately it still relies on everyone else I’d like to talk to having the same client installed. Still…worth looking into. I’ll give it the old once-over.

        Personally I find Stealthnet a bit more intriguing as far as filesharing is concerned. No need to rely on a web of trust and F2F – fully anonymous, with randomized TTL’s on queries and files passed through onion routing.

  10. [...] invasive than you say, though that hardly makes it not invasive (or okay) at all. For reference: Falkvinge.net article and a Yahoo article. The Yahoo one comments that the contents of messages will not be stored, only [...]

  11. [...] Direktiva přijata 21.3.2012, dnešek je černý den boje za svobodu internetu In grand deceivefest swedish parliament just voted for data retention [...]

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About The Author

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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