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Sweden lost!

No, I do not lament the fact that Sweden lost to Russia in yesterday’s football match, and even if I would have cared about the European Championships, another event yesterday would have been infinitely much worse anyway. On Wednesday, the Swedish parliament passed a law which will give the government the right to tap into information passing Sweden’s borders. Since the Internet is highly globalised in its structure, most traffic passes over the borders even if Swedish people are communicating with each other in Sweden. In other words, the new law gives the government the right to supervise its own citizens’ private communications without reason. Welcome to 1984!

I seldom care about politics in Sweden. I have voted twice, but not with any great conviction, but rather choosing between the lesser of many evils. Most parties in Sweden are fairly similar, and I think we will manage pretty well regardless of which happens to be in power. Until yesterday, I have had no real reason to distrust politicians in general, but failing to stop a law such as this is amazing and terrifying. Yet it is true. What is even more surprising is that those in favour were liberals! I thought liberalism was about individual freedom rather than government control, but I seem to have been mistaken. I also despise the fact that almost none of the liberals had the guts to vote against their own parties. If I had voted for any of them in the previous election, I would have felt very cheated indeed. Worse, I do not doubt that the current opposition would have passed the same law, had they been in power. When KMFDM released their song “New American Century”, I never believed that the following lines would apply to Sweden as well, but now, they seem appropriate:

Don’t do this – don’t say that
Your every move is logged and tracked
By the all oppressive eye
Spy satellites in friendly skies

Furthermore, the surveillance is done by FRA, a government authority previously known to conduct such supervising without legal support. Needless to say, I have little trust in that things will be done properly this time. Extending the rights of such authorities relies on the notion of citizens trusting the government not to make mistakes. I do not trust anyone not to make mistakes, therefore I believe any infringement of privacy in this manner is really, really bad. Besides, what kind of terrorism is supposed to be stopped by this? To my knowledge, terrorism in Sweden is not a widespread problem. The money invested in this madness could have come to much better use elsewhere, even if the goal was to combat terrorism.

My rant could go on for pages, but I really see no point in that. Instead, I shall have to wait and see what happens. Perhaps public opinion can force politicians to change or rescind the law. Perhaps there will be a couple of honourable politicians to vote for in the next general election. Perhaps someone will devise nice, subversive means of disrupting the authorities activities (I have seen some nice suggestions, such as auto-sending copies of all e-mails to the government). Regardless of all this, Sweden still lost.

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