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More than ever living with protected identities

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10:27 CET+01:00
Over the last few years, the number of people in Sweden who have been given a secret identity has increased dramatically.

Last year 10,434 people were living with confidential personal identification details such as address and personal number. Some 37 percent of those were under the age of 18.

That total has increased by around 3,000 since 1999, according to Svenska Dagbladet's web edition.

In Sweden's three main urban areas, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, the number of people with the highest form of protection - which entails being marked as secret in official records and being registered at an old address despite not living there any longer - has increased manifold.

According to Bengt Johnsson at the tax authority in Stockholm, the two main reasons for the increase are honour-related threats and threats against witnesses.

It is the Swedish Board of Taxation that decides who should have a protected identity. Björn Sjökvist at the board is currently working on a study into what the process costs. He told SvD that the tax board is going to need more resources.

"[The number of people with] protected personal details is going to increase further," he said.

One of the most costly issues is dealing with the post to people whose identity is protected. That task falls to the local tax authorities. In Stockholm last year, 138,000 letters were forwarded to secret addresses. For the whole of Sweden, that figure was 400,000.

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