It's official. The Government is now reading your email
The Swedish Parliament has passed a law allowing the authorities to intercept all international email and phone calls.
This week, Denmark was named the happiest country in the world.
Its capital was renamed Copinghaven.
However, just next door in Sweden, Google was one of the leaders in protesting a new law that was passed on June 18.
Unlike some laws, this one is simple:
"We, the Government, can read any email that comes into or out of our borders. We can listen in to phone calls too. Don't bother to tell us you don't like this law. As we've already read your dirgy emails and listened to your moaning phone calls. Just the ones to your relatives in Murmansk, of course. God, you have a whiny voice like Dr.Phil in a diving mask."
Sten Tolgfors, Sweden's Defense Minister, a man who looks like an NBA assistant coach and is quite naturally, from the Moderate Party, said that there is no need to worry:
"Look, if we find the email is from your lover in Jeddah, or merely from that blurry-looking guy you met in an Amsterdam coffee shop, we'll simply trash it. And we won't tell your wife. Or your other lover in Fresno. Or that really well-benefited friend you have made in Copinghaven."
Well, he didn't exactly say those words, but that is roughly what he meant.
One telecom group operating in Sweden, TeliaSonera AB, took the precautionary step of moving all of its email servers to Finland.
The whole Scandinavian region is not really used to such an exalted level of controversy.
Their greatest worry is usually limpid soccer teams and an abiding affection for alcohol, especially in Finland (perhaps the two are related).
Sweden has always been renowned for its so-called progressive social policy, which, for example, allows men to take sixteen months of paternity leave, even if it's Marishka from Murmansk who has borne them the child.
(Strangely, this level of enlightenment does not influence Swedish daddies to take the full amount of leave. On average, they take no more than 20%.)
Yet somehow the Moderates appear to feel that it would be progressive to read every email these daddies might write and receive from outside Sweden.
Two million petitioning signatures have already been obtained by Sweden's Expressen newspaper.
And Google and other companies affected by this new law continue to lobby.
Is it easier to lobby the Swedish government rather than, say, the Chinese?