We reported earlier about the @Sweden Twitter account which claimed to protect freedom of speech by blocking 14,400 people from interacting with it. You can search for your twitter handle at the bottom of this article and see if you were blocklisted by @Sweden.
While some people were rather amused by the block, Pewdiepie made a video pretending to cry over it, others were not. Jan Ericson, a member of parliament for Moderaterna (conservatives) demanded to know why he was on that list. In email correspondence with to the Sweden Institute, and their General Director Annika Rembe, he demanded to know why he was on the list, how the list was created, and he wanted a copy of the list itself. The list was swiftly deleted and everyone was unblocked, but this did not quell Jan Ericsson's thirst for knowledge.
However, as far as the list is concerned, it is, of course, unacceptable to delete a list after it has been requested in accordance with the public act. However, you have decided to "wipe out" the list by a decision made by your General Director, while showing that you have had the list in your possession. This makes my questions to the General Director extremely relevant.
As for text on SI.se, point three is added as late as Sunday evening or Monday morning. Before that, there was only point 1-2. Hence, my question remains what made you think that a block of me according to the current list could be "quality assured" as you claimed on your part. If it's as you write in your mail that you "can not specify the reason for each block," how could you at the same time claim your side that blockages are "quality assured"?
I receive written answers to all my questions in my original mail to the Director General.
To this end, I would like to add another two questions.
• How did your alleged "quality assurance" of the list go?
• Who did the review required to "quality assure" the blockages?
Sweden Institute expertly dodged most of his questions, by laying the responsibility for the blocklist at the curator's feet - despite their previous press release about the block becoming a permanent feature.
In this case, there were a lot of accounts being blocked. Before this curator's week, SI decided to let the curator bring her own compilation of blocked accounts to @sweden based on her own solid experience from network security issues and threats and hatred aimed at herself and collaboration with others working on network security issues.
You can download the entire email conversation between Jan Ericsson and SI at his personal website. Meanwhile, emails between the Net Security expert Vian Tahir and Randa Vandecker at Sweden Institute have leaked out on the web. This email confirms mine and others suspicions that the blocklist was simply created by Vian Tahir based on her arbitrary choosing, and then shared to the Sweden account via Blocktogether.
It's abundantly clear by the above correspondence that the list was created - likely manually - by Vian Tahir as she states "It's a block list I've been working for a long time, focusing on trolls, which makes me protected from the worst of it, so I'd rather not twitter without it in such a big account," Randecker at Sweden Institute responds "this seems super smart, I'll have our Webmaster sort it out."
So why did people like Pewdiepie end up on the list? According to an article "When hatred becomes a game" written by Vian Tahir in the publication Fria.nu, he is supported by Nazis. In the article she also summarizes Gamergate, claiming it made a game out of harassing women. Pewdiepie doesn't realise that he's feeding this alt-right /pol/ beast, she says.
The latest example of this, the Swedish Youtube blogger Pewdiepie with millions of followers, shows it clearly. Felix Kjellberg, as he really called, was criticised for a series of controversial "joke" where the point of the joke was Nazism. He does not see his so-called jokes in a political context but claims that humour is that people are hypersensitive and that the media conducts a witch hunt against him. A rhetoric that feels good again from both Gamergate and racist online warriors. In the case of Pewdiepie, he has, despite the intentions of his so-called joke, been supported by neo-Nazi movements and websites.
So according to Vian Tahir, the Israeli ambassador to Sweden, the Israel Foreign Ministry and countless politicians in Sweden are "trolls" she'd rather not engage with. But so is also the War Correspondent in Syria, Magda Gad. Magda won "Journalist of the Year" in 2015. She has won silver at the European Press Prize in 2016. And she's dubbed "Investigator of the Year" in 2017. Her beat is ISIS, making her job risky as well - but to the net security expert Vian Tahir she's a simple troll. Naturally, Julian Assange was blocked as well. Vlog Journalist Tim Pool has stated that "Sweden creeps him out" after the block.
This is why Sweden creeps me out. https://t.co/gYVQsPAOiF
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) May 16, 2017
The Israeli ambassador to Sweden seemed more bemused by the block, and tweeted happily when he was unblocked.
Hi @sweden, I WAS UNBLOCKED. Hope all is well and that you don't find me now as scary as before..
— Isaac Bachman (@isaacbachman) May 17, 2017
Destroying the blocklist used may, in fact, be illegal, and conservative Member of Parliament Jan Ericson isn't going to let this slide. In his email to Sweden Institute he states:
...Of course, I will not drop my request to get a copy of the list. It's a public act. I can not see that you have legal support to destroy this.