On the recent Facebook’s decision to build a new data center in Sweden that will become the most important for its European users in 2013, some concerns have been raised among experts with regard to the Swedish legal provisions on the National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets radioanstalt, the Swedish national authority for signals intelligence) and the powers conferred to this authority.
On this topic see Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2011 – Sweden, 12 August 2011, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4e4518e428.html: “Parliament passed the Signals Intelligence Act in 2008, giving Sweden’s National Defense Radio Establishment the authority to wiretap communication without a court order. Following widespread public protest, the law was changed to allow wiretapping only in cases where external military threats were suspected. While the law went into effect in January 2009, continued protest led Parliament to pass an amended version of the bill in October. Among other changes, the weakened legislation specifies that only the government and military can request surveillance and that those who have been monitored must be notified”. See also the joint answer given by Mr Barrot on behalf of the EU Commission to the Parliamentary written questions E-4315/08 and E-4432/08 (14 October 2008, available at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2008-4315&language=EN).
In this context the decision adopted by Zuckerberg’s company can be put in relation with the recent debate on the Patriot Act and seen in the wider context concerning the limits to the power of inspection granted to public authorities in a digital world. A world in which few big player store huge amount of personal and corporate information in few places on the Earth.