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Swedish parliament rejects snoop everyone law

Surveillance bill back to the drawing board

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A controversial law in Sweden which would have allowed Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) to monitor all outgoing and incoming communications crossing Sweden's borders didn't get enough votes in parliament today.

FRA would have been allowed to read emails and SMS messages and tap phone conversations without a court order. A majority of Sweden's center-right government agreed on Tuesday evening to support a revised version of the proposal, but Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt didn't get the backing of his four-party coalition and the draft has been sent back to the committee for revision. Government representatives have pledged to build in more protection for personal privacy.

Sweden's government believed the law was necessary because of the changing nature of security threats, terrorism and international crime, but many disagreed. This morning journalists and bloggers assembled outside the Riksdag in Stockholm to express their anger at the Orwellian law.

Pär Ström of the independent New Welfare Foundation said Sweden would turn into a Swechelon, after the global spying network Echelon that can eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet. Others believe the law would have created a country of self-censorship. ®

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