Sweden adopts anti-terrorism measures

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven

On 19 November, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven presented more measures to combat terrorism in Sweden. These measures focus on giving government agencies a new tool for information gathering, biometric passport controls and considering camera surveillance for buildings where there is a general threat and for particularly vulnerable places:

Secret data interception

The Government will task an inquiry with producing proposals for how the Swedish Prosecution Authority, the Swedish Security Service and the Swedish Police Authority can be given a new tool for information gathering that is adapted to modern communications technology.

The tool referred to is known as secret data interception and involves the possibility of also intercepting information that is sent via encrypted channels.

Encrypted communications are currently being used to an ever greater extent in the form of various internet-based services, such as Skype or Viber. Law enforcement authorities already have legal support following a decision by a court to intercept these conversations, but as the communications are often encrypted the content cannot be accessed through interception. This shortcoming will be remedied with the tool the Government is proposing.

Biometric passport control

Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of EU interior ministers, Sweden will push for the introduction of biometric passport controls at the borders to the Schengen area.

The new national counter-terrorism strategy states that the Government is to work to combat the misuse of Swedish passports.

The Passport Inquiry, which was referred for consultation until September this year, proposes several measures to address passport misuse.

One of the most effective measures proposed is the introduction of biometric information controls at the external borders to the Schengen area. This information is contained in the passports of all EU citizens and those of most other countries.

Camera surveillance

In today’s society, there are places and buildings where there is a general threat, even though they are not often subjected to crime.

Such places can include editorial offices, premises used by religious communities and asylum centres. Camera surveillance can be one way of protecting these places and buildings. It therefore needs to be guaranteed that there are no unnecessary obstacles to this kind of technology use.

There is reason, therefore, to investigate whether there are adequate opportunities for camera surveillance in places that are particularly vulnerable to crime and other places with an increased need for protection.

From a personal privacy perspective it is important to ensure that camera surveillance is not used as a matter of routine. The Government has appointed an inquiry to consider how a greater degree of overall personal privacy protection can be brought together at one agency. 


Swedish Government