A national Swedish study on mass surveillance and wiretapping across a ten-year span has shown a sharp and continuous decrease of public support in favor of such programs. The public has grown concerned that the issue poses a risk to national security of every Swedish citizen and have adopted an attitude of change as opposed to standing indifferent. The study can be found here in Swedish, but can almost entirely be effectively translated using Google Translate.
The study highlighted a rise in concern, awareness and opposition to mass surveillance of internet and wiretapping of phone lines. The public does not feel that current surveillance and wiretapping is being restricted to catching criminals or exceptional cases. Almost three-quarters of the population nonetheless support wiretapping cases where criminal activity was to be intercepted or other valuable exceptions, but do not support constant wiretapping and ongoing surveillance of every line. Only 15% specifically supported ongoing mass wiretapping of numbers.
After a ten year period, only 12% of the population currently supports mass surveillance programs over the internet, showing even less acceptance to mass online surveillance. 54% of the public accepts online surveillance in exceptional cases, while 24% had a rather radical stance suggesting online surveillance to never be acceptable. With barely more than a tenth of the population in support of mass surveillance, it is fair to say the winds have shifted and the educated and informed mass understood the present dangers of having such programs with little to no transparency, effectively putting national privacy and security of the citizens at risk.
We hope to see this momentum bring together change with current officials whom have already built an entire surveillance system nationwide. It is hard to imagine the government choose to continue on with such a huge slope of public acceptance of current spying and data collection programs in place. Only time will tell the next developments in Sweden and we certainly hope to see a full turn for a more private, safe and effective government doing what is best their citizen’s safety.
Such a strong change in public opinion is very notable and North America has seen a similar rise of public opinion polls showing opposition to current NSA surveillance programs. A Washington Post poll dating back to December 2013 showed 66% of Americans being concerned with collection and use of personal data by the NSA. Another recent poll by USA Today and Pew Research center showed that 53% of the 1,500 participants completely opposed mass data collection of phone and internet data for anti-terrorism purposes.
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