We urge EU to act against Sweden’s illegal data retention!

Sweden is now acting against telecom and internet carriers that do follow EU law on traffic data retention.

Law-abiding companies are faced with fines. Ultimately their existence could be threatened although they do nothing wrong.

5th of July Foundation, together with Bahnhof, the well-known Swedish “free-speech” network operator now urges the EU Commission to investigate and take action against their member state Sweden.

Details are found in the press release below. Here is information in Swedish.

Internet profiles reporting Swedish failure to comply with EU Court ruling on Data Retention, calling on EU Commission to take urgent action

Today Bahnhof, the renowned Swedish network operator and internet carrier joins forces with 5th of July Foundation to urge the EU Commission to initiate proceedings against the Kingdom of Sweden for blatantly ignoring the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union on April 8, 2014, which declared the Data Retention Directive invalid. Sweden now fails to fulfil its obligations according to The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, articles 7 and 8, ‘Respect for private and family life’ and ‘Protection of personal data’.

Telecom and Internet carriers that do protect those EU rights now find themselves having conditional fines imposed upon them by the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority. If they persist they face enforced closure.

– We will fight in Swedish courts to the end but this is not about Bahnhof and our rights. It is about every citizen’s human rights. Bahnhof has always stood up for privacy of communications. We do not intend to retain traffic data about our customers and we are confident that we have the backing of the EU Charter and Court of Justice. We urge the EU Commission to swiftly investigate.

– This is not only a domestic issue, says Oscar Swartz, Chairman of 5th of July Foundation. Every person who visits Sweden and uses a smartphone and every person who communicates with someone in Sweden is illegally registered right now. This is why we ask EU to act.

Sweden was the most active country in pushing through the Data Retention Directive and most virulent when it came to demanding control over every person’s use of the internet. Sweden’s Minister for Justice, Social Democrat Thomas Bodström, required that every URL and website that people visited should be stored, as well as all peer-to-peer communication like chatting and file-sharing, but his hawkish line was supported by very few other member states.

Sweden’s current Minister for Justice, Beatrice Ask of the Moderate Party, was one of his foremost critics.

– Yet Ms. Ask turned 180 degrees and made it possible for authorities to use retained data for every petty offence there is. This is a gross violation of the purpose of the Directive, which concerns the fight against serious crime. This point was struck down by the EU Court of Justice, explains Jon Karlung.

The formal action of reporting Sweden to the EU Commission comes after a long row of measures that threaten citizens’ privacy, security and liberty on the Internet. In 2008 the current government let FRA (Sweden’s NSA) tap into all internet traffic going in and out of Sweden. Recently the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) has requested “voluntary” participation of network operators in a program, granting direct access to their equipment. Bahnhof has steadfastly refused any such intrusion and instead published recordings of officials making these demands.

– We at 5th of July Foundation wish to empower the public, so today we launch a free chat service, a jabber server which supports easy OTR encryption, one of the few ways of communicating securely that Edward Snowden recommends. We are happy to be able to use Bahnhof’s network for this, https://5july.org/jabber/


Bahnhof was founded in 1994 and is Sweden’s oldest and one of the largest independent national Internet providers. Bahnhof hosted WikiLeaks. https://bahnhof.net

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