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Sweden passes controversial data storage law

Ben Kendall 2012-03-22

On Wednesday Sweden's parliament voted through a EU-backed law, which requires that internet and phone service providers save traffic data for six months.

The new law will come into effect on May 1. It requires that all operators store information on subscribers, including who they communicate with, and the time and location while the communication was made. The information is meant to only be used in criminal investigations.

While a vast majority, 233, voted in favour of the proposal, it was not without its critics. A total of 41 including members from the Green and Left parties, as well as other individuals, opposed the new law.

"When we build up such big systems that allow access to an incredible amount of private information about Swedish citizens, what happens if the system is abused?" said Maria Ferm of the Green Party.

Swedish police chief Klas Friberg was critical of the six-month storage period, suggesting it was not long enough and that at present it is possible to obtain information that is older than six-months.

"My opinion is that it weakens our capacity to fight serious crime," he told TT.

There are also concerns over the cost of storing the large amounts of data, which will probably be passed on to consumers.

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