Feeds

Swedish spy agency sics lawyers on wiretap critic

Whose free speech is it anyway?

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Swedish spy authorities have taken legal action against a Brussels-based blogger who published a classified document purporting to prove they snooped on individual Swedes more than a decade ago.

The country's National Defence Radio Establishment, which in Swedish translates into the acronym FRA, filed a complaint against Henrik Alexandersson. The blogger is a fierce critic of a Swedish snoop law that permits authorities to tap all communications that travel across Swedish borders and to turn over intercepted messages with international security agencies.

Last week, he published a document that documented communications between Swedish and Russian businesses in 1996. It included several Russian fax numbers that were used to carry the communications. The blogger claims the FRA intercepted the information by monitoring the lines.

In a complaint filed with Sweden's chancellor of Justice, the FRA calls the post a "crime against freedom of speech." The agency also vehemently denies it monitored cables.

It seems that at least a few people inside Sweden's government aren't happy with the the FRA's new powers either, and lately, they've taken to turning over classified documents to Alexandersson purporting to show abuses.

Alexandersson has posted other confidential documents that cast the FRA in an unfavorable light. One contained a list of 103 Swedish citizens registered and monitored by the FRA, purportedly for the sole reason that they happened to be in Russia.

The FRA's complaint is the latest salvo fired in the controversy over Sweden's new wiretap law. As we've pointed out before, the law is so broad that it is likely to snare communications between parties with no tie at all to the country as long as it makes a hop somewhere in Sweden (for example, an email sent from a BT address in London to someone in Finland). Some critics have compared it to the environment depicted in George Orwell's 1984.

More details are available here and here.

Update

According to blogger Wille Faler here, Swedish authorities are having second thoughts about pursuing Alexandersson following a very public and very acrimonious backlash. Faler says the uproar has spurred many bloggers to republish the confidential document, paradoxically causing the FRA's attempts to squelch the report to only give it more publicity. The phenomenon has come to be known as the "Streisand effect," after attempts by the singer to suppress pictures of her beach-front property generated so much interest they eventually wound up on the net.

Here's how Faler puts it:

After well founded rumours from police sources of an arrest warrant out for mr. Alexandersson, the authorities seem to have backed off for the moment, as they saw the Streisand effect come into full swing - the attempts to censor and silence critics by thinly veiled threats of legal action backfired royally, at this time, by my own count, at least 40 other bloggers have copied the classified documents in question and republished them.

®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.