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EXPLAINED: How do I get a Swedish digital mailbox?

A digital mailbox is a way to receive important information from the Swedish public sector, as well as from private businesses. How can you get one, and how does it work?

girl holding a smartphone
A digital mailbox can allow you to access important post from your smartphone. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

More than half of Sweden’s adult population have a digital mailbox, and they are even required to access some services such as the Swedish Covid-19 vaccination certificate for foreign-vaccinated residents.

How does it work?

A digital mailbox – or digital brevlåda in Swedish – is a place for you to receive post from authorities, regions and municipalities digitally. With some digital mailboxes, you can also receive post from private companies, such as invoices, payslips and recepits.

They are meant to be secure, as you must authenticate yourself with digital ID (such as BankID), and easy to access.

There are four types of digital mailbox you can choose from:

All four types of digital mailbox are free and offer essentially the same service, except Min myndighetspost, which only offers post from the public sector. Kivra, Digimail and e-Boks all offer apps in Swedish and English.

Who can get one?

Anyone over the age of 18 with a Swedish digital ID such as BankID or Freja e-ID can get a digital mailbox.

In practice, this means that you must have a Swedish personal number, as this is a prerequisite for a Swedish digital ID.

How can I apply?

You apply directly to the digital mailbox of your choosing, a process which usually takes no more than a few minutes.

You will be asked for your personal number, your phone number and your email address. Once you have provided the digital mailbox service with this information, you will authenticate yourself with your digital ID, and that’s it – you have a digital mailbox.

What can I do with it?

Depending on the service you choose, you will – as well as reading your post – also be able to sign contracts and pay invoices directly via your digital mailbox. You can also choose to deregister your digital postbox from any specific sender if you would rather receive paper post for any reason.

You can also receive digital receipts and upload your own documents to the mailbox for safekeeping, if you wish.

You are responsible for reading your digital post, which means you are responsible for ensuring that you have access to the internet and a computer or smartphone. You will usually receive an email or text message informing you when you receive new post.

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What you need to know about the EU’s plan for a uniform phone charger

The European Union has approved a new regulation that would force tech companies to use a standard charger for mobile phones and electronic devices. What does this mean?

What you need to know about the EU's plan for a uniform phone charger

The European Parliament has approved an agreement establishing a single charging solution for frequently used small and medium-sized portable electronic devices. The law will make it mandatory for specific devices that are rechargeable via a wired cable to be equipped with a USB Type-C port.

The rules have been debated for a while, and the announcement of the agreement has caused controversy, especially among tech companies and enthusiasts. US giant Apple has repeatedly lobbied against the standardisation, saying it halts innovation.

The EU says that the new rules will lead to more re-use of chargers and “help consumers save up to €250 million a year on unnecessary charger purchases”. Disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to represent about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually, the bloc says.

So, what exactly are the changes?

Which products will be affected?

According to the European Parliament, the new rules are valid for small and medium-sized portable electronic devices. This includes mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable.

Laptops will also have to be adapted, the EU says.

Those devices will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port regardless of their manufacturer.

When will the changes come?

For most devices, the changes are set to come by autumn of 2024. However, the date is not yet set because the regulations need to go to other proceedings within the EU bureaucracy.

After the summer recess, The EU’s Parliament and Council need to formally approve the agreement before publication in the EU Official Journal. It enters into force 20 days after publication, and its provisions start to apply after 24 months, hence the “autumn 2024” expectation.

Rules for laptops are a bit different, and manufacturers will have to adapt their products to the requirements by 40 months after the entry into force of the laws.

Where are the rules valid?

The rules will be valid for products sold or produced in the European Union and its 27 member countries. But, of course, they will likely affect manufacturers and promote more considerable scale changes.

The USB-C cable, with the rounded edges, will be the standard for charging in the EU (Photo by مشعال بن الذاهد on Unsplash)

Why the uniform USB Type-C?

The bloc said the uniform charger is part of a broader EU effort to make products more sustainable, reduce electronic waste, and make consumers’ lives easier.

“European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device”, EU Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba said.

USB Type-C is a standard of charging that has been around for a while but still is one of the best options currently in the market. Also known as USB-C, it allows for reliable, inexpensive, and fast charging. A USB-C port can also be input or output, meaning that it can both send and receive charges and data.

Unlike other ports, it can be the same on both ends of the wire (making it easier and more universal in its use). It can also power devices and sends data much faster.

USB-C can also be used for video and audio connections, so some external monitors can charge your laptop and show your screen simultaneously with the same cable.

What criticism is there?

The project is not without criticism, most vocally from US tech giant Apple, a company that famously has its own charging standard, the “lightning” connection.

Apple claims that forcing a standardisation will prevent innovation, holding all companies to the same technology instead of allowing for experimentation. Still, Apple itself has been swapping to USB-C. Its iPads have already dropped the lightning standard. Its newer laptops can now be charged with the MagSafe proprietary connector and USB-C.

Apple iPhones are still charged with the company’s lightning ports – or wirelessly (Photo by Brandon Romanchuk on Unsplash)

The company’s popular earbuds and peripherals (including keyboards and mice) all charge with lightning. And, of course, the iPhone, Apple’s smartphone, also uses the company’s connection for charging.

While there have been rumours that Apple is working on new iPhones with USB-C connection (though definitely not for the next launch this year’s), the company could go away with wired charging altogether. Instead, like many tech manufacturers, Apple is improving its wireless charging solutions, even creating products dedicated to its MagSafe charging.

It won’t be completely free from the EU regulation if it does that, though. This is because the rules approved by the EU also allow the European Commission to develop so-called “delegated acts” concerning wireless charging. The delegated acts are faster processes that can be applied directly without being put to the vote.

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