Facebook is building its newest data center in Luleå, Sweden, because of that town’s frigid climate, but the social network may run into a much hotter regulatory climate in the form of the country’s wiretapping law.
The FRA law allows the government in Sweden to intercept any data or telephone traffic that crosses its borders, with no need for a court warrant.
This legislation has kept Google from establishing a server base in Sweden, as the search company has openly opposed the FRA law since it was imposed in 2008, The Register reported.
Anna Trobert, leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, wrote in her blog (translated):
It is much worse news for a couple of hundred million European Facebook users, who will now connect to the servers in the country. It implies that everything they send to and from Facebook will pass through the FRA’s filters. Any electronic information that passes Swedish borders is nowadays a small detour away from being filtered.
I suspect that because of this, they are celebrating with a slice of cake with coffee at FRA on Lovön today. They are already on a gold mine because most of Russia’s Internet traffic passes through Sweden. Now they have a very nice new gold mine — a few hundred million Europeans’ Facebook activity. FRA has its own little version of the Privacy Act, and it must therefore collect information about politics, religion, and sexual orientation and apply it to barter with foreign powers. Now FRA will have a busy time. It is perhaps not surprising that FRA only recently asked for another 200 million krona ($30.27 million) to fund its operations.
Facebook didn’t seem overly concerned, with a spokesperson telling The Register:
Access by public authorities to personal data is governed by national laws in all countries, including in the United States and Sweden. Facebook is committed to meeting its legal obligations in the countries where it operates, and it already has a team in place to respond to lawful requests from public authorities in Europe. We do not anticipate any changes to this structure with the opening of the new data center.
Readers, do you think Facebook should reconsider whether to site a server farm in Sweden?