Sweden's Snooping Law Faces European Court Challenge

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The debate over its recently approved snooping law continues to rage unabated in Sweden. Centrum för rättvisa (or Center for Justice), a Swedish public interest law organization, has lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), it announced on Wednesday.

The Swedish parliament voted on June 18 to approve a law that will make it possible for the FRA (Swedish Defense Radio Establishment), a civilian organization that falls under the Ministry of Defense, to listen in on all wired traffic that crosses Swedish borders to protect against what has been dubbed "external threats."

Centrum för rättvisa feels the law (also known as the FRA Act), as well as current monitoring of wireless traffic, constitutes a violation of the right to privacy and private life (Article 8), and the right to an effective remedy (Article 13), as protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, according to a statement.

The law has several shortcomings, which the ECHR needs to take a look at, according to Centrum för rättvisa, which questions whether it will be effective since encryption can be used to evade eavesdropping.

The group also says that the FRA Act is too vague. Reasons for monitoring communications range broadly and include preventing crimes as varied as international terrorism and interest speculation. It is also not specific about how the information gathered is monitored, used, shared and stored, or how the information should be erased.

Last but not least, individuals who suspect they have been the subject to surveillance have no way to confirm it, and therefore lack an effective remedy, according to Centrum för rättvisa.

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