• Sweden edition
 
Privacy in Sweden
'Crime record site shows Sweden's constitution needs to be rewritten'
A user performs a search on Lexbase.se. File photo: Per Larsson/TT

'Crime record site shows Sweden's constitution needs to be rewritten'

Published: 28 Jan 2014 09:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Jan 2014 09:52 GMT+01:00

Launched on Monday, Lexbase.se allows people in Sweden to look up a friend's, colleague's or neighbour's criminal record online.

Searches can also be carried out by neighbourhood, with red dots signalling the presence of convicted criminals on a map.

The site prompted Kristina Svahn Starrsjö, head of Sweden's Data Protection Board (Datainspektionen) to pen an op-ed in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper calling for changes to Sweden's constitution to stop "abuse" of loopholes to the detriment of individuals' privacy.

"As things stand now, there's nothing stopping a website from publishing sensitive information about convicted criminals for at least five years," she wrote.

Svahn Starrsjö explained that her agency's "hands are tied" when it comes to addressing Lexbase.se and other sites that publish personal information like criminal records because the sites' publishers have paid the 2,000 kronor ($312) fee to obtain a publishing licence (utgivningsbevis) from the Swedish Broadcasting Authority (Myndigheten för radio och tv).

"There's nothing we can do about the site, no matter how much we want to," she wrote.

A publishing licence gives web publishers the same constitutional protections offered to broadcasters, newspapers, and traditional media outlets.

"It's an undeniable paradox that anyone who has a website and a publishing licence can freely handle information in a way that police are prohibited from doing," Svahn Starrsjö explained.

The constitutional protections afforded publishers trump privacy protections enshrined in Sweden's Personal Data Act (Personuppgiftslagen, PUL), she added.

Svahn Starrsjö pointed out that her agency first warned the justice ministry about the problem back in 2009, resulting in changes in 2011 that tightened rules for credit reporting companies.

However, addressing the problem associated with sites like Lexbase requires changes to Sweden's constitution, a process that requires two separate decisions by the Riksdag, as well as an intervening election.

"Thus, a parliamentary inquiry needs to be launched as soon as possible," she wrote.

At the same time, an increasing number of Swedes are seeking information from the country's crime registry, with DN reporting the number of extractions having increased five-fold in the last decade.

In 2013, 222,940 crime registry extractions were executed, most often by individuals in connection with a job application. While Sweden requires those working with children and young people to undergo a criminal background check, more employers in sectors that have no such requirement nonetheless want to know whether applicants have a criminal past.

The spike in criminal record requests prompted the government to review how criminal records are used in the labour market. The inquiry's findings are set to be finished in April.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedes insist EU prioritize environment

Swedes insist EU prioritize environment

An EU public opinion poll released on Friday revealed that Sweden is the only nation which thinks the environment should be a top priority for the union. READ  

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
File photo: TT

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'

Police in Gothenburg have confirmed that sex trafficking in the city has developed into a full-blown slave trade - but that they lack the resources to do anything about it. READ  

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution
Photo: TT/The Missionary Church of Kopimism

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution

Peter Sunde has complained that his religious rights have been impinged after he was refused permission to meet a representative of a church inspired by the keyboard shortcuts for cut and paste. READ  

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported
Police at the scene of the threat in June. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported

The 43-year-old man who threatened Stockholm's Gamla Stan with a bomb in June was sentenced on Friday to two years in jail, followed by deportation. READ  

Swedish police: 'We're sweaty all the time'
Swedish cops are unhappy with the heat. Photo: Håkan Dahlström/Flickr

Swedish police: 'We're sweaty all the time'

Swedish weather agencies say the summer's warmest day is yet to come, but police in the north have decided that they can't take the heat - and filed a report about the own stifling police station. READ  

SAS resumes flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv
File photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

SAS resumes flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv

SAS Scandinavian Airlines has resumed flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv after the airline completed a 'thorough security analysis' of the situation in Israel. READ  

Swedish man stabs woman and kills himself
A Stockholm police car. File photo: TT

Swedish man stabs woman and kills himself

A man and a woman, reported to be both 45-years-old, were found dead on Thursday in an apartment on Lidingö in Stockholm with police suspecting a murder and suicide. READ  

Police fear arson after Sweden mosque fire
Central Norrköping in eastern Sweden. Photo: Stefan Vilcans

Police fear arson after Sweden mosque fire

Swedish police suspect arson after buildings at a mosque in Norrköping in eastern Sweden burned down in the early hours of Friday morning. READ  

Opinion
'Moving wasn't a choice, Sweden called to me'

'Moving wasn't a choice, Sweden called to me'

Caught in an identity limbo and surrounded by often apathetic "love refugees", The Local's resident Swedophile Solveig Rundquist wonders if she's the only expat who moved to Sweden for the culture alone. READ  

Swedish inmates to receive digital tablets
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Swedish inmates to receive digital tablets

Sweden's Prison and Probation Services are beginning a project in which suspected criminals will be given surf tablets to look at evidence against them. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Blog updates

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

731
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se