Investigative journalism from a Swedish blogger
Swedish blogger Pawal at Datasvammel made the headlines of several of the major news media in Sweden Wednesday, when he revealed that Swedish State television uses a UK service to filter their incoming email. There’s a current debate about data surveillance in Sweden, since the government wants to increase the possibilities for Försvarets radioanstalt, FRA (the radio surveillance dept. of the Swedish military defence), to “listen in” on email and phone conversations to and from other countries.
The proposition has received a lot of critisism. The government says the objective is to fight terrorism, but critics claim that the proposition is a threat to our personal integrity. Some call it a “1984 proposition”.
With this as background, Pawal writes that SVT sending its email traffic through the UK becomes extra worrying since the focus of the surveillance will be on traffic outside Sweden’s borders.
Also other countries can spy on email traffic if its sent outside of Sweden.
Pawal continues (my translation):
When you explicitly send unencrypted emails via a foreign country you cannot have given personal integrity a thought. It’s easy to draw the conclusion that they ought to encrypt all emails that are the least bit sensitive. We’ve known this for a long time, but so far the there’s been a limited risk of being surveilled within Sweden.
The other day I got interviewed about investigative journalism in blogs, and could come up with few examples of this in Sweden. I’m glad to be given one so soon.
Following Pawal’s post, the Swedish Journalists’ union has urged the parliament to turn down the proposition, blogger Calle Lidström has revealed that a number of Swedish newspapers also send their emails abroad, and Pawal writes in a follow-up post that there’s a rumour about SVT employees not even being allowed to encrypt their email.
There’s a law in Sweden that prohibits the investigation into a journalist’s sources. One wonders how to avoid scanning media emails if this proposition is taken. Especially if those emails are a part of an international data communication.