Feeds

Facebook's Swedish data centre will be subject to Snoop Law

It's the law, innit... bitch

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The icy location is a big advantage for the new data centre that Facebook is planning in the northern Swedish town of Lulea. But while the frigid Arctic winds will fan the servers, it's the legal climate that could get hot.

A controversial Swedish internet surveillance law passed in 2008 allows the government there to intercept any internet traffic that passes Sweden's borders with no need for a court warrant. It's called the FRA law and the Swedes don't like it, and Google called it "unfit for a Western democracy". And the rest of Europe could start to get annoyed by it too when that internet traffic includes their Facebook data.

When the server kicks up in 2013, it will host Facebook for most of the site's European users and that will mean that photos of you at your sister's birthday party, your status updates and private messages to your girlfriend will be just part of the data pool that the Swedish executive will be able to dip in and of at its leisure. No legal permission necessary.

The Swedish surveillance law, which also extends to phones, was heavily criticised by Google's Peter Fleischer in 2007, who swore that the search engine would never site a server base there because it was "the most privacy-invasive legislation in Europe". Google currently has servers in Belgium and Finland.

A Reg Reader alerted us to the blog of Swedish Pirate Party leader Anna Troberg, who says [translated]

It is much worse news for a couple of hundred million European Facebook users, who will now connect to the servers in the catalog. It implies that everything they send to and from Facebook will pass through the FRA's filters.

Facebook's reaction? Well, they're just going to let it roll.

Access by public authorities to personal data is governed by national laws in all countries including in the US and Sweden. Facebook is committed to meeting its legal obligations in the countries where it operates and already has a team in place to respond to lawful requests from public authorities in Europe. We do not anticipate any changes to this structure with the opening of the new data centre.

Facebook stressed to us that it respected EU privacy laws and that the contract Facebook has with its users outside North America will be unaffected by the new data centre:

Facebook users outside North America have a contract with Facebook Ireland Ltd under Facebook’s terms of service. Facebook Ireland Ltd is already compliant with European Union data protection law and acts as the data controller for these users. Facebook Inc processes data on behalf of Facebook Ireland Ltd under contractual arrangements which are similar to those used by other international companies. We expect these legal arrangements to continue with the addition of the new data centre.

®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
Intel, Cisco and co reveal PLANS to keep tabs on WORLD'S MACHINES
Connecting everything to everything... Er, good idea?
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.