Bank cited for noting client’s bank heist past

The Swedish Data Protection Board (Datainspektionen) has criticised Swedbank for registering the fact that a customer had a prior conviction for robbing one of it branches.

Bank cited for noting client's bank heist past

“Information regarding crimes or suspected crimes can under no circumstances be registered,” the board wrote in its instruction to the bank.

The information was registered in the bank’s internal information system and consulted when the man applied for a student account offer.

While the information on the man’s conviction would appear in a routine credit check, the board has found the bank in contravention of Sweden’s Personal Data Act (Personuppgiftslagen – PUL) for making a note of the fact.

The bank has meanwhile argued that the note was necessary in order to be able to properly consider (and deny) the man’s business – a right framed in the state deposit insurance law.

While the law stipulates that a customer can not be denied a bank account which is covered by the guarantee, the board pointed out that exceptions can be made if “for example, the applicant has previously acted dishonourably towards the bank”.

The customer was convicted of the armed robbery of a branch of Swedbank in 2008 and part of his sentence involved the payment of compensation, a claim which is yet to be settled.

The board concedes that robbing one of its branches and having an outstanding compensation claim, is a legitimate legal reason for Swedbank to deny a client’s business.

It is furthermore noted that bank has taken steps to review its routines and to train its staff on the stipulations contained in the Personal Data Act.

The Local/pvs

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Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland