Archive for the 'Democracy' Category


EDB fires people for their political views.

IT solutions group EDB terminated a contract with a consulting firm concerning one Jonas Bergling who is the local rep for the Swedish Pirate Party in Örebro. Last monday he answered question on a chat with readers of Nerikes Allehanda a local daily newspaper on the subject of Piraty Party principles, surviellance societies and The Pirate Bay trial. When he started working for EDB he was upfront with his position in the party with his closest supervisor and has never used company time for political purposes. 

EDBs policy says:

Political activity 3.3 EDB does not give support to political parties, neither in the form of direct financial support nor paid working time. Employees participating in political activities will be granted leave from their work in accordance with the law and agreements.

Seeing as his participation in the chat was during his spare time, he has clearly not violated company policy. 

Generally, firing people in Sweden is tricky business. There’s alot of laws that strictly regulates how you can fire people. But since Jonas wasn’t employed by EDB but instead with the consulting firm, they bypass these laws. 

Jonas had been told that his chances at getting a permanent position were very good and that the company were just waiting on a clearer picture of the direction of the economy before offering him a job. But after leaving work this Thursday EDB called him and said that they had no interest in being connected to the subjects the chat concerned. Upon returning to the consulting firm he was told to hand in security pass and keys to them, and that he is not welcome and EDBs offices anymore. Not even to say goodbye to his friends at work.

Terminating a contract in this way for someones political views is dispicable!

Swedish blogs covering the subject:, Leo Erlandsson, Opassande, Insane Meditation, Ung Pirat Mattias Bjärnemalm

-Update: Now also on SvD(sv) – EDB head office denies everything and the Örebro office of the consulting firm is unreachable.


EU Baffels the Internets.

I’m still sifting through all the articles from todays trial but this warrants a post of its own. Our private life have been under serious attack the last few years partly because there is very little understanding for the fact that a huge part of our lives and identities are created, shared and developed online among law makers. In Sweden we have been battling the FRA-Law, IPRED and the Police Method Investigation to name a few. Many voices have been raised criticizing the EU for forcing us to enact all these dangerous and mostly ineffective laws. Well today the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affair published a report on Strengthening Security and Fundamental Freedoms on the Internet. All in all this seems like an awesome proposal, but as with all thing EU the process from here on in notoriously complicated. And I expect it will be fought against, specially by France who are hell bent on three-strike-laws and the home of Vivendi.

Thanks Micke for bringing this to our attention!


Taliban HQ resides in sweden.

Even though General-director of FRA has pointed out its impossible, the afghan defense is still used to try and convince the public that the FRA needs a copy of all digital traffic crossing the borders of Sweden. One of the latest proponents to get a letter to the press published is the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces Håkan Syrén. Apparently Swedish C-130’s operating in Afghanistan need the FRA to keep themselves safe from SAM’s and what not. Now to be fair, our Supreme Commander could be interpreted to be saying, he needs the FRA, not necessarily, the new law. And true, there are reasons to moth ball all of FRA, their systematic disregard for Swedish law being one of them. But this is still only secondary to stopping them from copying and filtering all Swedish Internet traffic. So unless Mr Syrén wants to step up and enter the debate for real, he should keep his tidbits of “wisdom” to himself.

Rumors are 80% of Russia’s Internet traffic passes through Sweden. So you can see the great importance of this new law…. Maybe I should stop talking to my friend from Russia. He’s actually trained by their intelligence offices as some sort of network admin…. But then again I have one friend who works as a security guard at a Finnish airport, another one who works as a security guard at a Swedish air port. Yet another friend who has a masters in chemistry, and one who did his conscription tour in the military as a programmer, and several who worked with different kinds of explosives. I know this guy who works as a chef at a consulate, and I recently applied for a job at a nuclear power plant. How many terrorist plots can you make of that?

While summers in Sweden, and probably most other countries means news drought, this summer has the FRA debate, and sadly for our government it just wont die. Specially troublesome this week I think since it saw the opening of the annual Politics week in Almedalen on Gotland. Reports are that around every corner there is someone asking someone else about this new law. It’s also reported that theres a lot more talks on the FRA issue going on behind the scenes. Its the hottest topic bar none, but the right wing parties are doing their best to gracefully dodge the issue.

Of note is when Maud Olofsson, leader of the Centre party shot herself in the foot claiming that there are no laws in Sweden protecting civil liberties. Mrs Olofsson is apparently unaware of the Swedish constitution. We already knew our prime minister hasn’t read it when he claimed all power emanates from the government. The club just keeps on growing.


Four million emails – the Swedish parliament needs a plumber!

Their intertubes must be clogged by now. I certainly hope they are! The Swedish newspaper Expressen is taking the FRA-law very seriously and launched a special portal for all things FRA. As part of the launch they built a mass email script that let you send a protest email to all 143 MP that voted yes, and of course the confused one that abstained. On the first day some 500 000 emails were sent. One MP complained on his blog that he had received over 4700 emails so far, and Badlandshyena(swe) picked it up. Now the protest mail from expressen translates roughly to this:

“Dear member of parliament,

With this email I protest the FRA-law.

If my email crosses Sweden’s borders, FRA will have access to monitor it. You are one of the MP’s that voted to allow FRA to monitor not only this email, but all traffic crossing Swedish borders in cables. It is my opinion that it is unjustified that a protest email to a MP risks being monitored by FRA and therefor I demand the law to be scrapped.”

Nothing spectacular by itself, but when news broke of the Moderate MP Olov Lavesson preferred to be unaware of the opinions of the people he represents, and therefor started forwarding all his emails to Expressen, the think tank Limbo offered this email to Lavesson:

“Dear Expressen,

With this email I protest the citizens of Sweden.

If the citizens continue to protest the FRA-law I will be unable to steam roll them. It is my opinion that it is unreasonable for citizens to not only engage themselves politically, but also to have the media assist them in doing so. Democracy, by definition, is to allow MP’s to make all decision for the people, as the people are too stupid see what is good for them.

If this revenge on Expressen wont make you come to your senses, you leave me no option but to break out the party whip and pay you a visit. Then I promise you you will see my view of things.

You should think twice before ever criticizing MP’s again!”

I laughed at least.

Now following up on this tidal wave of protest emails (actually, maybe we should contact Guinness?) I found this article on Expressens portal. It interviews previous chairmen/women of the different parties in the coalition, all slamming the bill and the handling of the issue by the government. Towards the end though, there is a quote by Thomas Mattsson, editor-in-chief of Expressen Digitala Medier. Apparently FOUR MILLION emails have been sent so far! And they will keep the script available for a a few more days. I cant help but think that this is in fact a reply to the “challenge” issued by another Swedish newspaper a week or two ago, where they established that the FRA-law still wasn’t the issue that generate the most emails to Swedish MP’s.

On another note, Peter Sunde, spokes person of Sweden’s famed The Pirate Bay, has posted a stamp of approval for the Swedish Pirate Party on his blog. TPB are also engaged in the FRA-law, rolling out encryption on the TPB, and are considering using their contacts to urge ISP’s around the world to blacklist Sweden to protect their customers.

I for one would like to see how our government responds to being the cause Sweden is banned from the Internet.


All swedes are idiots – FRA’s message to the public

Last few days we’ve seen employees of FRA, a former(swe) and the current(swe) general-director of FRA complaining in editorials in Swedish newspapers. Both are claiming that all swedes opposed to the FRA monitoring all digital traffic in and out of Sweden are idiots, lunatics who have an unhealthy distrust for our government. These two also shoot down the argument that this law would help protect Swedish troops from IED’s when serving abroad. An argument frequently used by proponents during the debate in the parliament. We have been saying all along that this claim was absurd, and wouldn’t you know it, the general-directors agree. Unfortunately neither of them offer any reasons of their own as to why this law is a good idea. One in every two swedes are clearly too stupid to understand the ramifications of this law, and that is reason enough. Falkvinge and Opassande have commented on it in Swedish.

Personally I cant grasp what they hope to accomplish by insulting the intelligence nearly half of Sweden, and using this as the only argument to justify this law. In these two editorials not a single piece of new information has been produced.

Meanwhile journalists keep finding skeletons in not only the closets, but the cupboards, the fridge and the dishwasher.

FRA started hiring its new analysts years ago, in small numbers, to avoid suspicion and used a company where one of the FRAs board members is a stockholder(swe). The are already demanding new hardware and more employees to cope with the new workload(swe).

The Swedish Data Inspection Board, who would be one of the new controllers, as proposed by the modified bill, where never asked, and as their precise roll hasn’t been defined their General-Director cant say if they are actually up to the task or not.

The crisis in the government over this is increasing. When the leader of the moderate parties youth section, the moderates being the biggest party in the ruling coalition, threatened to resign, our prime minister was asked to comment. His reply(swe) was: “my, a party that wants to snoop on all swedes, that sounds really scary, good thing there are no such parties in the government.” Reinfeldt is  also convinced one of every two swedes are idiots and that we should just shut up(swe). In his own words: “We all gain by dropping this debate.” On the question if he has no sympathy for the critics at all he replied “The decision has been made, I guess you can criticize that, but its too late now.”

The swedish people are not idiots, we know how to read, and our opinions matter. All claims to the contrary are ludicrous.


Leave me alone

I found this and i must say it’s really good. It’s a plead to Thomas Bodström, the creator of the FRA-law, to leave the singer alone.

There are more videos popping up on youtube, all critical, but this one imo is the best one in english I found so far. Theres one in swedish that is really brilliant too, called Döda politiska karriärers sällskap. Thats Dead Political Careers Society, a spoof on Dead Poets Society, and it brought tears to a lot of eyes here in sweden.

Through all this I keep returning to two thoughts. One, if old-media, while free and uncensored, arent covering the acts of government, how will the people make informed decisions on who to vote on? If theres no coverage you, as a citizen can never hold the MP’s accountable for their acts if they misrepresent your vote. Has the responsibility of this really shifted so far on to the public that modern politics require a blogosphere to keep track of the government? Where else will you get news of upcomming laws in a format that is understandable to those who arent students of the law? What is the role of old-media in the modern political landscape in sweden? True, sweden has what, the sixth best internet infrastructure and broadband penetration in the world, but I cant see us doing away with old-media completly. There are still far too many who havent embraced the possibilities and are unaware of the ease of access of information out here. And obviously most of them find that being in politics is their particular calling. If you were to do away with all old-media coverage of political affairs right now, caos would ensue. The situation in sweden shows this clearly. Old-media have been criticized through all this for failing in their responsibilities, and among other things categorically waiting untill right before the votes to cover new laws. There are several laws in the pipe here in sweden, the Data Retention Directive being one of them, who all generate the same emotional response as the FRA-law. Too little coverage too late compounds the problems. Whenever the public hear news from the government they are portrayed as done deals, and a lot of the time they are too.  How does that inspire people to form and opinion?

The second thing i cant shake is how despicable the political whip is. Maintaining a united party line should never have priority over the ideals and political platform that you were elected on. In this case there were clear issues with the party platforms of all four parties in the government coalition, aka The Alliance. These are all, to some extent, liberals and this obviously created internal conflicts in the government. You cant employ mass surveilance of your citizens and call youselves liberals, you cant even call yourselves democratic. Now, if they would have discussed and argued the issue, why sweden should or should not pass this bill it would have been fine, but these whipping meetings that were held for two days prior to the vote, centered around the various MP’s -> BETRAYING <- the party and the coalition. HEY MORONS! THE PLATFORM IS THE POLITICS YOU PROMISED US YOU WOULD REPRESENT IN THE PARLIAMENT! The ones who where betrayed were not the parties who couldnt produce a united front. The ones betrayed are the voters. Non-socialist liberals are now kicked out of their home so to speak. All their youth sections are pulling their support(swe) for their candidates currently in the parliament. If you cant argue that an opinion is in violation of your platform you have absolutely no right to force a MP of your party to vote in a particular way. That is despicable! Its immoral! And its undemocratic!

The constitution of sweden says, all power emanate from the people. Our prime minister clearly hasn’t read this since he recently said that “all power comes from the goverment” in an interview on swedish TV4.

Some blogs for the readers who grasp Swedish

Rick Falkvinge – Äckligt hyckelri hos Centern

Christan Engström – Vi kämpar vidare – styrkta!

Opassande – Den svenska modellen – Glasbur

Anna Troberg/Rosetta Sten – Folket avlyssnat, svarar med att kräva avgång…

Oscar Swartz :: Texplorer – FRA: Tag ledigt 16 setember 2008

Texplorer and Falkvinge also write in english at times

Rick Falkvinge -After wiretapping, a national DNA register

Global Texplorer – Mayday Mayday! Internet Wall of China – around Sweden!


143 political suicides

After losing the vote yesterday and having our democracy butchered the blogosphere is regrouping. The Enemy has announced itself, and these MP’s that voted yes must be held accountable.

On a more pleasant one shining beacon for hope held on to her ideals and voted against the amended FRA-bill. Camilla Lindberg, I hope you take the time to collect all the flowers we are sending to your office(swe).

I will be back in a day or two with a lengthier post and have a look at what the english speaking media has to say.