Sweden's telcos hand over mass spying powers to police, tax authority, customs and other agencies

Under a new, extra-legal voluntary arrangement, Swedish telcos will turn over detailed call records, location data, and billing information to a wide variety of government agencies, including the tax authorities, police, and customs. The data will also include codes necessary to bypass Swedes' SIM PINs and covertly activate them over the air. Because this is a voluntary arrangement, there is no legal framework for it -- it wasn't the result of a law or act of Parliament. It's just a cozy arrangement between Sweden's carriers and the Swedish state.

Circumventing the entire legislative process and every democratic shred of oversight, the Swedish Police are demanding voluntary agreements from telecom operators to give the Police and other Swedish authorities direct and real-time access to phone call data, mail traffic, and much more. This is not just the slippery slope into an Orwellian society that civil rights activists have warned about: this is a slippery precipice.

We’re now officially past the point where “national security” (and the the ever-present disgusting child porn/terrorism argument) is used to justify bulk warrantless wiretapping of everybody, all the time. We’ve arrived at the point where the Police justify the complete elimination of entire classes of civil liberties with nothing more than “because it can be done, and we want it”.

The authorities that would get direct real-time access to most communications aren’t just the Police, but also the Customs Office, the Security Police, and the Tax Authority (!!).

Swedish Regime To Give Police, Customs, Tax Authorities Realtime Access to Citizens' Phone, Mail, More