Now is the time for debate and actions
A democratic society is built upon discussions, before law proposals become reality. We started the conversation on the streets of Sweden, during the country’s EU presidency.
The Swedish Act on Signal Surveillance for Defense Intelligence Activities is introduced. It is said that the surveillance will only apply to external threats against the country. The Director-General of the National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA) writes a debate article saying, “There is a perception that FRA will listen to all Swedes’ phone calls, read their e-mails and text messages. A disgusting thought. How can so many believe that a democratically elected parliament would want to hurt its people so badly?”
13 years later, the Court of Justice of the European Union judges Sweden, saying the FRA Act violates personal integrity. The Swedish government is called upon to immediately address the legal security gaps. Instead, the government goes in the opposite direction and approves an extension of the FRA Act.
The European Commission is working on a legislative proposal called chat control. If the law goes into effect, all EU citizens will have their communications monitored and audited. It is claimed that the purpose of this law is to detect serious crimes. The problem is that once such a massive system is in place, those in power can choose to change what to listen to at any time. Think of an authoritarian country within the EU. Now imagine such a system in place.
What will future governments and parliaments monitor once they have the infrastructure in place? Political opponents? Protest movements? Journalists? People seeking abortions in countries where it is prohibited by law? At this rate, we probably won’t have to wait until 2084 before the society starts looking like Orwell’s 1984 dystopia.
Stop chat control
What happens to a society when people feel monitored? When humans don’t have the right to private conversations, that’s when societies fall apart and democracies descend into totalitarian states. We urge Sweden’s parliament and government to say no to the legislative proposal.