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Swedish parliament to vote on legal eavesdropping

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Swedish parliament to vote on legal eavesdropping

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Swedish military intelligence agents will be able to listen in to all cross-border telephone calls, and read people’s emails and text messages, if its parliament votes ‘yes’ to a new law later today. The centre-right government says the proposal is “an acceptable balance between national security interests and people’s rights”.

But many do not agree, including several government backbenchers. Defeat would be an embarrassment for the ruling coalition. The Swedish Defence Minister, Sten Tolgfors, said the threat of international terrorism made such surveillance necessary.

Up to now permission has had to be sought to monitor someone’s internet and telephone activity if a crime is suspected.

Christian Democrat MPs, from Sweden’s ruling coalition, were sent copies of George Orwell’s book ‘1984’ at the start of this week in a symbolic protest from the party’s youth organisation.