Reposting, since the article has been updated for international readers. The parliamentary vote is over and the results, analysis and comments occur at the end.
Hello world! (Also published on my Swedish main blog).
This may be one of the last messages to be sent from Sweden before the Parliament forces all the big Internet and Telecom providers to send a copy of all their traffic to a state run surveillance central. Without any rational reason for it. Vague arguments about terrorism. Sweden is not faced by such threats and to abolish freedom of communications is not a solution to political problems in other countries.
Swedes will never be able to communicate again without a copy being sent to the state of all the traffic that passes our borders. That is a large part of what we do. Our whole lives are lived on the net today. So the state will have a direct line into our lives.
The Swedish Journalist's Federation has now called every journalist in the country who can make it to personally turn up at the parliament to beg the MOPs to vote NO! This is an unprecedented manifestation in Sweden.
The law was a sure thing to pass until only a week ago. Bloggers and activists have worked for months against it but mainstream media has not seen the significance of the law until the last week. We, the netizens, have now managed to whip up a firestorm and the law will probably be turned down with a very slim margin althouh 85-90 % of the people are against having their communication copied to the state and are against the law.
The Swedish people is now glued to the TV screens, frighetend by the speeches they hear from half the country's politicians.
We are hopeful, since the NO-sayers still stand strong. But they need all support they can get. The Journalist Federation's manifestation is a last effoert to instill faith in them. The soon-to-be-heroes need all supprt they can get.
UPDATE: The ruling parties, that are supposed to be primarily "liberal" (in a European way), have managed to do cosmetic changes that satisfies some of the fiercest critics who will now vote for a compromise. They did not have the guts to say NO to their own party bosses. The deeply anti-liberal principle stands in the compromise: All our communications will be copied into a state surveillance central.
Four heroes were needed to break party lines. They appeared to stand strong. But the parties of the government were psyching and pushing them until the youngest member of parliament, who is against this heinous law, was seen breaking down and crying outside the House. She obeyed.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has alienated all the liberals in the country and is generally seen as a political catastrophe.
Sweden is abolishing a fundamental basis for a free society: The right to communicate without having the state snooping on you without any suspicion of a crime. General wiretapping of us all.
International media must wake up and put pressure on Sweden. Help us, please!!
Links in English about our situation:
I was interviewed today by our Danish neighbors who have realized what is going on here.
UPDATE, June 19, 2008: The law was passed on June 18, 2008. It looked lika a coalition of individual liberal dissidents from the ruling government parties would break party lines and say NO. Unfortunately Fredrick Federley from the Center Party, a key dissident who earlier claimed that he would never support the law, unexpectedly changed his position, most likely for internal party career reasons. The largest tabloid in the Sweden put the headline "Traitor" on an article about Fredrick Federley. He was one fo the few members of the parliament who was there on a personal ticket and the reactions from his supporters are now fierce. His blog is filled with hundreds of hostile comments. The heroine that emerged from the parliamentary vote was a Liberal Party outsider who took an adamantly individualistic stance and refused to bow to the party line. Her name is Camilla Lindberg. Swedes have been sending flowers to her as if there were no tomorrow. She had to ask people to donate money instead to Reporters without Borders. Activism is boiling. There is a real confidence crisis in politics in Sweden now. Rumours of new parties and actions are filling mailing lists and blogs. A typical YouTube contribution shows how many Swedes now feel: Overrun by a government that no longer represents them. Some of the pictures inside the video shows party leaders of the government alliance.
/Oscar Swartz, Internet entrepreneur, writer and acivist