Sweden and Internet Privacy / Freedom

So why does Sweden lead the pack in terms of Internet privacy and freedom?

There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority. Individuals and groups engage in expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail.


In the wake of the implementation of IPRED, the Swedish government additionally passed a legislative package that may grant the National Defense Radio institution (Försvarets Radio Anstalt – FRA) intensive police work power over online activities, in a trial to combat ‘external threats’6. In effect, the laws invest the national defense administrative unit with the authority and skill to watch all cross-border cable-based communication (phone-calls, e-mails and alternative net traffic, etc.) while not a warrant – together with the traffic’s content – way surpassing the scope of police work allowed at intervals the EU5. NGOs, like the Swedish Justice Centre and therefore the Norwegian division of the ICJ, have so argued that the law violates Article eight and Article thirteen of the eu Convention on Human Rights, likewise as article twelve of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, that guarantee voters the correct to privacy and their ability to carry authorities in command of potential human rights violations. (Landes, 2009)

Similarly, a centralized block-list has been the article of disceptation. The list is issued by the authorities and later on enforced by ISPs by suggests that of an automatic DNS-filter, specifically with the intent to dam access to sites hosting pornography. Critics, like net research worker Marcin Diamond State Kaminski from the social science of Law department at city University, but kvetch that maintenance of the list isn’t in the least clear which there’s no third-party management of the lists content. Neither is there some way to de jure attractiveness a listing entry. (Geens, 2012) Amongst alternative things this implies that the choice of web sites listed is also capricious in some instances which while not more checks and balances the list could become a political play-ball. above all if an identical system would be emulated in countries with the next extent of corruption and fewer trust in state authorities than in Sweden, wherever corruption levels area unit negligible and trust within the police is comparatively high.


The problem of transparency equally extends to the arena. Whereas Sweden was one among the primary countries to supply e-government services like online tax-forms, likewise as e-identification and numerous alternative e-services, government itself has not been in the least as desperate to create public knowledge sets on the market. this can be notably attention-grabbing against the background of the alleged ‘Principle of Publicity’, AN integral a part of the Swedish constitution passed in 1766, that decrees that the final public, likewise because the mass media, ought to “be warranted AN unobstructed read of activities pursued by the govt. and native authorities”. consequently, Sweden is that the solely European country that doesn’t have a national open knowledge portal. within the list of ‘open government’ countries Sweden continues to be insulating material behind considerably[xxv].


Sweden is usually publicized as a task model for progressive political, regulation and net freedom. Governmental intervention and support for an early and swift development of an intensive and quick ICT infrastructure doubtless contributed to a solid basis for a spirited net culture – politically, socially and economically. However, as taking a better explore some debatable policy-decisions like the implementation of IPRED and therefore the passing of the FRA-law has shown, Sweden’s addressing regulation isn’t entirely simple, effort the country’s liberal image with a scratch. Likewise in matters of transparency there’s some catching-up to try to to for the Swedish government.

As Sweden definitely conjointly has AN influence on EU policy-making8, it’s necessary to contemplate in however way sure policy-decisions will solely add a specific Swedish context. continued on this thought consequently begs the question of however way policy choices continuously got to be thought of at intervals a specific constitutional context. because the example of the block list suggests, sure institutional settings likewise as trust publicly establishments and a culture of free expression area unit preconditions to stop the misuse of such policy implements for political, or alternative functions.

One of Sweden’s greatest assets, in the end, looks to be its spirited culture of dialogue} and debate concerning net policy and regulation – a culture that will to a vital extent have adult out of a robust opposition to what was perceived as dangerous political. because the country actively seeks to consolidate its role as a vital neutral and instigator in world net policy formulation processes, it’ll progressively got to mirror on however policy choices created reception probably reverberate within the international community.

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