Swedish Net Group to Government: Hands Off

Internet users in Sweden are organizing to more effectively campaign against governmental control of the Internet.

BitoS, a trade organization composed of online content providers and distributors, works to monitor the state of copyright, ethics, marketing, infrastructure, e-commerce and education in the country. It recently made headlines with the formation of “Do Not Touch My Internet,” a campaign opposed to government censorship on the Net.

The campaign is a result of Swedish law recently passed that prohibits the mention of someone’s name on a Web site without permission. So far, the law has not been enforced, but BitoS is working to revise or repeal it.

BitoS has become an important voice in the debate over freedom of speech on the Internet, said David Philipson, chairman of the organization. Webmasters throughout Sweden have posted links to the BitoS site since the campaign began in October, he said. So far over 40,000 people have signed petitions against online censorship.

The petition list will be handed over to the government on December 8, when a government commission holds a public hearing regarding the law, called “PUL.” BitoS is pushing for a revision of the law, saying the law was a big mistake and must be revised or it will not be respected by the general public.

BitoS members include representatives from Telia Infomedia, IDG Sweden, Bonnier-group, Sweden Post, Scandinavia Online, and PIR New World Media.

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