Today everything that happens on the Swedish part of internet is logged. When, where and who is being logged by internet providers. The National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA) is logging everything that pass Swedish borders. Unfortunately for Finland this means that Sweden is logging all the finish traffic as well.
The access to this information is pretty limited to military intelligence and politicians. The police has to have a really good reason to access this information. According to Swedish public radio (Sveriges Radio) This is something that Nils Rekke, Director of Public Prosecution, wants to remedy. He builds his suggestions based on the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (ETS No. 185). It is so much easier to take a readymade document than listening to experts.
In the effort to become the biggest brother on internet, the Swedish government has just received a suggestion to log everything that happens on the Swedish part of internet. Not only who, when and how but also what; meaning that the information that is sent is also saved for all foreseeable future (or a time limit to be named later). These new laws would apply for both internet providers and for VPN providers and any other provider that values privacy for its customers. This, in turn, means that all the things you surf to, all the e-mails you send, all the chats you have (video and audio), all the things you download and even the telephone calls you make in Sweden, will be recorded. EVERYTHING!
Yes… even the bi-curious shemale porn clip you watched last night. The information will be saved is that it was you, what computer you were on (Hostname, NIC and IP), what file you accessed (HTTP headers), how long you jerked off to it (by seeing the duration you spent accessing the file), and what time you finished, turned off your computer and shamefully went to bed (dropped connection).
This is a very bad idea for so many reasons but I will name but a few.
- The freedom of speech, a basic human right, will be further limited. It is virtually none-existent today but with this law the information about you, your children and the rest of the people you care about will be available to a broader crowd.
- The right to privacy is also non-existent today and will also be available to a broader crowd.
- The government is giving themselves right to record child pornography. How do I figure? Young teens (and pre-teens) out there are having a lot of innocent fun with their webcams with each other. Regardless of how you feel about that it is happening. Persons under the legal age ARE doing things on the webcam that the older generation wished they had the chance to do when they were that age.
- Since every package, and its content, is being saved this means that the system needed to save all this information will require a huge investment from the companies involved. The cost of this will be transferred to the customers who will have to pay more to get, and stay, online. We are talking about billions of euros just in Sweden. All depending on how long it has to be saved.
- No one will be innocent anymore. When the police feel like it they can search the system for some key words and then extract any information about anyone. Even those that by accident found themselves on a page that is illegal to visit (Yes! Some pages are illegal to even visit in Sweden. Willingly or not, if you end up on those pages you are truly done for and branded a pedophile for the rest of your life.) Regardless if there is a victim or not. Even a stick figure that is being claimed to be of under legal age can land you in prison.
- The information saved, if/when hacked, can be used for blackmails, sold to media or any other criminal organization. Not all threats come from the internet. Some are from the comfort of your own home where it is “safe”. Some system administrators tend to be curious. Some are even actively searching for incriminating information. I have seen it happen many times.
- This means that not even the politicians are safe. Just look at how easy it is to hack a smartphone and what information you handle through it. This is the same thing, but so much more comprehensive.
- Every company in Sweden would feel the effects of this law. All the company secrets that are being sent through VPN to their other offices or subsidiaries would be logged.
- One or more initiative taking person(s) would then just have to access this “hub” to get all the information they needed to make a good investment or sell all the stocks.
- Competing company could hire some highly skilled people who, without being able to be traced, could penetrate this hub and steal years of research.
- There are already ways to circumvent these efforts. Recommended projects are:
These two are the biggest providers of safe ways to communicate whatever you want to whomever you want. But of course, like all other techniques you will have to learn how to use it in a safe way.
- The people they might catch with this effort are
- The script kiddies.
- People who manage to hack by luck rather than by skill.
- The everyday person who made a mistake and has little or no knowledge.
- The people they want to be able to catch will still be free to hack another day laughing at the ignorance and effort.
- The VPN companies (who get their entire income from people who want to remain anonymous) will move their HQ or company to a country where logging is optional. They will also make deals with other countries that has a liberate attitude towards internet. VPN services will stay anonymous and the Swedish government will remain blind to these people.
The suggestions laid out by Nils Rekke (based on EU) is an unnecessary and costly way to control people and try to prevent crimes. It is a futile effort made by desperate and uneducated people who wants to take control over something they don’t comprehend. I feel sorry for them but I feel sorrier for the people of Sweden and EU.
I have many better ideas how to solve the issues that does not involve such massive restrictions in the private sphere. But nobody ever asks me anything.