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Markus Lahtinen is the new chairman for Säkerhet för Näringsliv och Samhälle

Cut-out of Markus Lahtinen in front of a blurry SNOS-logo.

Markus Lahtinen, Lecturer and Researcher at the Department of Informatics at Lund University School of Economics and Management, assumed the position of chairman for the think tank Säkerhet för Näringsliv och Samhälle (SNOS, Security for Industry and Society).

The SNOS network is a leading actor in security and safety discussions. Through opinion journalism and news dissemination via its platforms and the internationally-focused, it strives to raise awareness and improve security standards in Sweden and globally. 

“I’ve been invited to this think tank in Stockholm since 2022, but it started in 2009 by a publicist and editor called Lennart Alexandrie, with the stated aim of doing some educational, opinion-forming work, bringing together different stakeholders and actors in society. The obvious is what the title “industry and society” implies – but there are other actors too. There is academia, which I represent. So, one ambition is also to bring in the best knowledge available in this area. Bring in speakers who are visible in the public debate and who can say something informed about what has happened historically, what is happening now and what might happen in the future”, says Markus Lahtinen. 

When the think tank was founded in 2009, Åke Andersson, with a background in Securitas in Sweden, was the first to take on the role of chairman. The baton was passed to Kristina Axén Olin, a member of parliament for the Moderate Party (Moderaterna), in 2016. Now, the organisation welcomes Markus Lahtinen as its third chair. 

“Considering who has been chairman in the past, it feels particularly honouring to take over the chairmanship,” says Lahtinen in an article on the digital news channel Security User. 

Ny SNOS-ordförande: Markus Lahtinen efterträder Kristina Axén Olin – (in Swedish)

Markus Lahtinen’s research led him to active participation in the SNOS annual security event, #TrygghetNu (#SecurityNow). In 2024 he participated both as moderator and speaker. At its launch in 2012, #TrygghetNu was primarily focused on issues related to Markus’s research area, but over time the scope of the event has broadened. Despite this expansion, Markus remains a central figure in the discourse.

 “It has evolved over the years. I think it started about ten years ago. At that time, we had a fairly strong focus on what has been my research area, namely camera surveillance in society. It was about the surveys I had done on how the public views camera surveillance. That has been my gateway into this role.”

The challenges of technological advancement

The topics of discussion within SNOS, and in security and safety discussions in general, are evolving at a rapid pace along with technological advancements in society. This dynamic development constantly brings new opportunities for security actors, but also new risks and challenges. Markus Lahtinen is both familiar with and interested in what these changes may come to mean for society and the individual. 

“It’s no news that technological developments are raising a lot of questions about privacy. Perhaps in a way that we can’t compare to old privacy standards. It’s changing. One of the things I saw in the last round of this survey I did was that a lot of the privacy issues, as was debated in the 2010s, were about society’s need for surveillance, which is the basis of the book 1984 that was written in the 40s. That’s not really the landscape we have today. Today, big companies have a much more detailed insight into what we do in our day-to-day lives.”

The importance of EU legislation in surveillance matters has increased significantly in recent years. The legal environment today is very different from what it was just a few years ago. This development is something that the new chairman sees as a challenge. 

“I think it’s a bit more difficult when you get to such a high parliamentary level that it’s supranational. But however you look at it, EU regulations will play a crucial role. We have, for example, the issue of facial recognition, where the current government has been pushing quite hard against launching different types of liberalisations for law enforcement agencies. And that issue has to be coordinated on a European level as well. So, we’ll see where it lands.”

Future plans and advice

Markus Lahtinen recently shared what he is looking forward to in his new role. Among other things, he expressed a desire to resume the work started by his predecessors. 

“I guess it’s to continue the work that the previous chairmen have started and managed. Also perhaps to use some of the contacts I have, both nationally and internationally.”

For those interested in getting involved in the security discourse, Lahtinen has some valuable tips to offer. 

“One piece of advice I have is to monitor issues that people perceive as challenges or problems that you want to address in some way. People are welcome to contact me regarding this. But then there is also continuing the conversation in the media sector. One option is to turn to the traditional media channels. Another is to use social media. Whatever you think of social media, they are a channel that many people use.”

(The quotes in this article have been translated from Swedish.)