Pre-paid SIM cards, known in Swedish as kontantkort or cash cards will soon require registration with information including the owner’s name and personal identity number (personnummer), broadcaster SVT reports.
The new rules could present difficulties for people without a personnummer, such as foreign nationals who have recently moved to Sweden, since a personal identity number is needed to set up a phone contract.
Sweden is changing its laws around pre-paid SIM cards because the anonymous nature of unregistered phones makes the work of law enforcement agencies more difficult, SVT writes.
“[The new rules] make it more difficult for criminals and easier for the police and other law enforcement agencies,” Fredrik Joelsson, of the police fraud unit in Västerås and operational analyst for the police in Region Mitt, told SVT.
Suspicious phone numbers in criminal investigations are almost always without a registered owner, according to Joelsson.
But the analyst said he believes that professional criminals will find ways to get around the new rules by using methods including fake BankIDs and apps.
“We will still have to work hard on these cases,” he said.
A name and postal address along with personal identity number or other identification number (for example, for business phones) will be required to purchase a pre-paid SIM from August 1st, SVT writes based on information from Sweden’s Post and Telecommunications Authority (Post- och telestyrelsen) and parliament.
When registering for the pre-paid card, the subscriber’s identity must be checked using a valid document such as a passport or driving licence.
Unregistered pre-paid cards will continue to work until February 1st, 2023.