Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment

Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment

Infobox Government agency
agency_name = Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment
nativename = Försvarets radioanstalt

seal_width = 160px
seal_caption = Unofficial rendering of the coat of arms of the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment.
formed = 30 June 1942
preceding1 =
preceding2 =
dissolved =
superseding =
jurisdiction = Government of Sweden
headquarters = Rörbyvägen, Lovön, Ekerö Municipality, Stockholm County
latd=59 |latm=19 |lats=55.39 |latNS=N
longd=17 |longm=51 |longs=14.08 |longEW=E
region_code = SE
employees = Circa 650 (2008)
budget = SEK 562,459,000 (2008)
minister1_name = Sten Tolgfors
minister1_pfo = Minister for Defence
chief1_name = Ingvar Åkesson
chief1_position = Director-general
chief2_name = "vacant"
chief2_position = Deputy Director-general
parent_agency = Ministry of Defence
website = [http://www.fra.se/ www.fra.se]
footnotes =

The Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment ( _sv. Försvarets radioanstalt, "FRA") is a government agency in Sweden responsible for signals intelligence. FRA is a civilian organization subordinated to the Ministry of Defence. The two main tasks of FRA are signals intelligence (COMINT and SIGINT/ELINT) and support to government authorities and state owned companies regarding IT security.

Interception of signals are done from fixed sites on Swedish territory, from the SIGINT ship HMS Orion (run by the Swedish Navy) and from two Gulfstream IV aircraft (run by the Swedish Air Force).

FRA operates by assignments from several authorities, i.e. the Swedish Government, the Swedish Armed Forces, the Swedish National Police Board, the Swedish Inspectorate of Strategic Products, the Swedish Board of Customs, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, the Swedish Defence Research Agency and the Swedish Emergency Management Agency.Oversight is provided by the Defence Intelligence Commission.

The main headquarters are located on the island of Lovön in Stockholm County. FRA was assigned a budget of 562 million SEK in 2008 and has around 650 employees.


Signals Intelligence has existed in Sweden since 1905 when Swedish General Staff and Naval Staff respectively, had departments for signals intelligence and cryptanalysis. These departments succeeded, for instance, to decode the Russian Baltic Sea Fleet cipher. After World War I this ability mostly ceased as politicians did not see its value and did not grant funding. The Swedish Navy still continued in a smaller scale and developed the competence further. One of the first major successes was in 1933 when the cipher of the Russian OGPU (predecessor to KGB) was solved.

In 1937 the Swedish Defence Staff was established and the Crypto Department, with its Crypto Detail IV was responsible for cryptanalysis. In 1940, when Germany occupied Denmark and Norway, the German Wehrmacht requested to use Swedish telephone network for its communication. This was accepted and Crypto Detail IV immediately started to intercept. The traffic was almost always encrypted by the German state of the art crypto machine Geheimfernschreiber. This device was believed to produce non-decipherable messages, with its 893 622 318 929 520 960 different crypto key settings. After two weeks of single hand work, the Swedish professor of mathematics Arne Beurling decoded the cypher of the G-schreiber with only use of pencil and paper. [2] This achievement was described by David Kahn, in his book The Codebreakers; “Quite possibly the finest feat of cryptanalysis performed during the Second World war was Arne Beurling's solution of the secret of the G-schreiber.” During World War II, some 296 000 German messages was intercepted and possibly as a result of this, the Swedish Government took the decision in 1942 to establish Försvarets Radioanstalt.

The first stationary collection site was located in the middle of Stockholm, but in 1940 it was moved to a number of villas in the suburban island of Lidingö. More sites were established in Sweden and in 1943, FRA moved its headquarters to Lovön, some 15 km from Stockholm. Still in the 1960’s, even the location of the FRA headquarters was highly secret. [Försvarets radioanstalt 50 år - Jubileumsskrift från 1992 (Non-classified memorial publication distributed to FRA employees 1992)]

Proposition 2006/07:63

The Swedish parliament has passed a law that has given the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment the right to monitor traffic at all operator owned internet exchange points for traffic which enters or leaves Sweden in search for external threats. [cite web
title=Proposition: En anpassad försvarsunderrättelseverksamhet
] Telephone companies in Finland have expressed their worry about the referendum, as it will make it illegal for them to transport international telephone conversations via the Swedish networks. [cite news
title=Finland tveksamt till avlyssningslag
publisher=Sveriges Radio
] Peter Fleischer, Google's Global Privacy Counsel, wrote about this:

cquote|By introducing these new measures, the Swedish government is following the examples set by governments ranging from China and Saudi Arabia to the US government’s widely criticised eavesdropping programme. Do Swedish citizens really want their country to have the most aggressive government surveillance laws in Europe? [cite web
title=Privacy...?: Sweden and government surveillance

Finnish Sonera is currently (as of 5th june 2008) moving their e-mail servers out of Sweden to avoid letting FRA wiretap the Finnish population. Juha-Pekka Weckström, Senior Vice President of TeliaSonera Broadband Services Finland said "We decided to move Sonera's e-mail services back to Finland in order to protect the privacy of our Finnish customers. After the migration, e-mails sent from one Finnish Sonera user to another will not cross Finland's borders at any stage." [cite news
title=Sonera Moves Email Servers to Avoid Swedish Spy Laws
publisher= [http://www.cellular-news.com/ cellular-news]
] . Also Swedish Telia, the partner of Sonera, has transferred Swedish customers from Finnish to Swedish servers, to prevent national e-mail from crossing the border.Fact|date=June 2008

Accusation of illegal wiretapping

It has been reported [cite news
title=FRA lagrar svenska telesamtal och mejl
publisher=Sveriges Television
] [cite news
title=FRA har samlat data i tio år
publisher=Dagens Nyheter
] that FRA have in fact been conducting potentially illegal [Several swedish newspapers write about FRA's potential illegality: [http://www.svd.se/nyheter/inrikes/artikel_1364237.svd Svenska Dagbladet] , [http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/1.1198380/fra-anklagat-for-olaglig-datalagring Expressen] and [http://www.dagen.se/dagen/Article.aspx?ID=154548 Dagen.se] writes about the accusations in terms of potential illegality.] eavesdropping on Swedish citizens for a decade. According to the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment's General Director, Ingvar Åkesson, they destroy the data collected after eighteen months, [20 seconds into the movie at [http://svt.se/?a=1175152 Rapport] , Anders Åkesson, the general director of FRA, says that they "filter" their computers after 18 months.] but they confirm that they have in fact been collecting information not just on foreigners but also on Swedish citizens. [ [http://svt.se/svt/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=22620&a=1173950&lid=puff_1173812&lpos=rubrik svt.se - Rapport ] ] FRA was reported for illegal wiretapping but the case was dismissed by the prosecutor. [ [http://svt.se/svt/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=22620&a=1199538&lid=puff_1199538&lpos=rubrik Swedish Television (SVT) about the dismissed case against FRA] ] FRAs wiretapping has been accused for breaking with the human rights, and has been reported to the European Court of Human Rights. [ [http://svt.se/svt/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=22620&a=1195208 svt.se - Rapport ] ] [ [http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1042&a=804650 FRA-lag anmäld till Europadomstol ] ] [ [http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/07/15/Swedish_surveillance_law_gets_legal_test/UPI-17691216144986/ Swedish surveillance law gets legal test - UPI.com ] ]

Rick Falkvinge, chairman of the Swedish Pirate party recorded a conversation [ [http://rickfalkvinge.se/files/large/Rick%20Falkvinge,%20Anders%20Wik%202007-09-26.mp3 Recorded conversation where Anders Wik says that FRA is conducting illegal wiretapping (Swedish)] ] with Anders Wik in 2007. Wik, at the time employed at FRA as chief of the director-general's staff and unknowing that Falkvinge was recording the conversation, said that the organisation is monitoring communications, including phone conversations. Wik also said that proposition 2006/07:63 had the purpose of formally legalizing this communications monitoring. The recording was made public at a demonstration in Stockholm the 31th of May, 2008. Computer Sweden [ [http://computersweden3.idg.se/2.2683/1.165280 Computer Sweden writes about FRA conducting illegal wiretaping] ] was the only Swedish newspaper to write about Falkvinge revealing his conversation with Wik. Anders Wik stated in the article that he has no doubts as to the veracity of Falkvinge's recording. Max Andersson, representing the Green Party has demanded an investigation following Computer Sweden's article. [ [http://mp.se/templates/Mct_78.aspx?avdnr=13720&number=151440 The Green Party demands an investigation] (Swedish)]

Sten Tolgfors, Swedish defense minister, replied to the accusation that FRA had support for its activities with the law of electronic communication (2003:389 - 6 kap 17 §).

Computer power and rumored use

Top500 credited FRA with owning the world's 5th fastest supercomputer in their November 2007 list. [ [http://www.top500.org/site/details/2845 Top500.org's article about the computer] ] [ [http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/it_telekom/datorer/article51117.ece Article in Ny Teknik (Swedish)] ] According to Jonas Strömbäck, chief of the director-general's staff, the computer is being used for "cryptography and information security." [ [http://www.nyteknik.se/art/51044 Article in Ny Teknik (Swedish)] ] [ [http://www.fra.se/nyhet-0313.shtml Informational news from FRAs own webpage about the supercomputer. (Swedish.)] ] Christian Engström, vice president of the Swedish Pirate Party [ [http://christianengstrom.wordpress.com/2007/10/15/vad-ska-fra-med-en-superdator-till/ Christian Engströms blog, in swedish] ] has theorized that their supercomputer will be used to break the GSM crypto A5/1 and refers to a official document from FRA [ [http://www.fra.se/bilagor/0304-arsredovisning-2006.pdf FRA - ppen version av Frsvarets radioanstalts rsredovisning 2006 ] ] . In the document FRA refers to breakthroughs in cryptanalysis the last year and continues with that FRA needs more processing power in order to exploit these breakthroughs. According to Engström, this fits very well in on the description of the weaknesses recently discovered in A5/1.


External links

* [http://www.fra.se/english.shtml Official website of FRA]
* [http://frapedia.se/wiki/Kronologisk_lista_%C3%B6ver_engelska_nyhetsartiklar_om_FRA-lagen A list over english news about the FRA and the FRA-law]
* [http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/06/05/037201&from=rss Slashdot article about FRA]

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