Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Not feeling smug at all.

General surveillance of the central nodes of the swedish part of the Internet was was voted through parliament late on wednesday night. The vote came while Sweden was loosing to Russia in the euro championships.

The Pirate party has been campainging against this proposal for over a year. At first people did not believe us. General wiretapping? No way that could pass in our modern society. Clearly we must have misunderstood.

However, we did get the youth sections of the parties in parliament on our side. A large enough minority opposed the law in june 2007 and it was postponed a year.

This spring we concentrated on this law. We made flyers and handed out about 20 000 or so. We really got the blogosphere going. The surveillance law was on par with the championships the last weeks in the blogosphere. The youth sections of all the parties in parliament are opposed and promised not to support anyone who voted for the bill. Many regional chapters of the liberal party and the centre party passed declarations against the bill.

And the last week even the old media started to understand what this was about and finally started writing (this is the first time in sweden when the bloggosphere has pushed an item into the msm). This monday public service television broke the news that FRA (the spying agency) has been snooping on cell phone communications unconstitutionally for at least ten years.

It started to appear we could actually win this, several parlamentarians in the ruling bloc came out against it, and with a thin mayority all it would have taken was for four parlamentarians in the ruling bloc to pass over to the other side.

For those who understand the swedish subtitling, here is "Dead political careers society", reflecting the mood a week ago:

On the day of the voting somewhere around 1500-2000 people gathered outside the parliament chanting "Stoppa F-R-A". This is quite an extraordinary occurance in swedish politics.

But in the end the party whips cracked down hard. Some probably unconstitutional measures were taken to change the bill a bit without giving the parliament proper time to read it. And the revolters folded, all but one and a half (one from the mayority voted against, one abstained). Two were given credit for the minor changes and proclaimed they had saved privacy online and the bill. Few were fooled by that. At least one was bullied not to appear, and since the swedish parliament practices Pairing this effectively was a yes vote.

So it passed.

And why was this law proposed at all? We do not know, but quite a few times the argument that we need information to trade with was brought forward from supporters of FRA. It is quite a safe bet that there has been some pressure from the enteties the informatin will be traded to, that is other countries spying agencies.

So not feeling smug, no. Feeling a bit tired and drained, but not smug.

Lets close with a new version (subbed to english) of the national anthem "You Old and Free Unfree":

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 20th, 2008 at 08:15:08 PM EST

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