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Sweden's snoop site relaunches in new guise

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A user performs a search on Lexbase.se. File photo: Per Larsson/TT
09:12 CEST+02:00
Controversial criminal-tracker website Lexbase, which allowed people to see their neighbours' criminal records, has now been relaunched after its founders felt forced to shut it down in January.
 
The website made headlines in January, offering people in Sweden to look up a friend's, colleague's or a neighbour's criminal record. A map function allowed users to get an overview of their neighbourhood, with red dots signalling the presence of convicted criminals.
 
When a hacker attack meant that thousands of Swedes' private information was leaked on the site just days later, Lexbase shut down.
 
On Friday it was relaunched, but this time without the map function that showed where the convicted offenders lived.
 
"There was no need to keep the mapping function as it wasn't used that much," Lexbase head Jonas Häger told the TT news agency, as he again defended the fundamental tenets of the website and its services. 
 
"I think the criticism was wrong. If you take (the critique) to its logical conclusion, it was more aimed at the freedom of the press act, which states that everyone has the right to access public documents."
 

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The site has been dogged by controversy from the moment it went live. Some privacy advocates called for changes in Sweden's constitution to ensure that protections in place to protect the press and publishers do not trump personal information laws. Pontus Ljunggren, the service's spokesman, stepped down in the midst of the storm after reportedly receiving death threats.
 
 

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