Feeds

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

It's the law, innit... bitch

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.

®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype
Box-hugger is not a dirty word, Minister. Box-huggers make the cloud WORK
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Do you spend ages wasting time because of a bulging rack?
No more cloud-latency tea breaks for you, users! Get a load of THIS
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.