12 April 2012, 19:56

Assange attacks Sweden for Russian Internet traffic interception as experts express doubts

Assange attacks Sweden for Russian Internet traffic interception as experts express doubts

Julian Assange told British magazine New Internationalist earlier this month, that 80% of Russian internet traffic is intercepted by the Swedish security services.

Julian Assange told British magazine New Internationalistearlier this month, that 80% of Russian internet traffic is intercepted by the Swedish security services. Assange said that almost all internet activity is recorded, archived, by Sweden’s FRA (Försvarets Radioanstalt) and then sold to the national security agency in US. If necessary special services can use that information to find out about one’s friends, habits and frequently visited places.  Now Julian Assange is under house arrest in the UK and faces extradition to Sweden.

Malcolm Dixelius, an independent Swedish journalist, in exclusive an interview with Voice of Russia shed light on how the media reacted to Assange’s allegations. 

How could Assange gain access to such information?

He must have contacted his colleagues from Sweden who think that  the government enacts too many laws  connected to the international struggle against terrorism.   

Previously Assange and Wikileaks declared that they are planning a campaign against Sweden. Do you think that this statement was a part of Assange’s effort to reach that goal? 

Of course, I think with such statements he attempts to bring Swedish judicial and political systems into a negative perspective. It should be noted, that his initial stay in Sweden had to do with the fact that in terms of internet freedom Sweden is the most liberal country in Europe. It is only logical, that he wanted to connect Wikileaks with the Swedish system. But the tables have turned since Assange’s legal troubles began and the development of recent events, so his goal is to bad mouth the Swedish administration.  

How did the Swedish media react to Assange’s statement?

I was highly interested in this situation and devoted my attention to this question, but I must admit, Swedish media ignored Assange’s comments. In general the media is no longer interested in covering Assanges statements because after scandals and trials his credibility suffered a significant drop. It also has to do with different facts connected to Assange, which are covered in detail by many books.

Meaning his statement may not comply with actual facts?

In my opinion it doesn’t comply, but he is right in saying that there is an active political struggle against many decisions of the Swedish government to secure the country. The government must pass laws against terrorism and those laws must comply with EU standards. But how to interpret and more importantly adapt those laws to our security system is a matter of dispute. Those who do not believe in this system might give Assange information on which he bases such statements.

Is it legal to adopt practices that are used by Swedish secret services?

The Swedish secret services have to be under complete control of the democratic forces and parliament any commissions that are responsible for them. It is a matter of trust. I personally think that political control works here, thus the law is on the side of secret services, but there are those who agree with Assange and consider this to be a violation of privacy.        

Russian experts in the field of internet security expressed doubts over Assange’s allegations. They believe, it’s technically possible, but too expensive and hardly a profitable undertaking. It’s not clear where the figure of 80% intercepted internet traffic comes from, Vitaly Kamlyuk of Karpersky Laboratory, leading Russian antivirus software developer told ITAR-TASS news. He pointed out that it’s very difficult to detect the fact of traffic interception. The current amount of internet traffic demands huge investment in terms of money and effort, much higher than the benefits it might bring, Olga Aleksandrova-Myasina of Coordination Center of National Internet Domain was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS. It is a doubtful business, she said.

At the moment Assange is in the UK. He awaits a court’s decision concerning his extradition to Sweden where he faces rape charges. Assange says that such accusations are politically motivated and he is completely innocent. His lawyer fears that if Assange is extradited to Sweden, the Swedish authorities would hand him over to the United States, where he faces espionage charges. 

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