Sweden: the country where all your personal data are online — and what you can do about it

In Sweden, data such as your home address, telephone number, birthday and even your bank card references are often available to anyone through a simple Google search. The initial reaction of new residents is, usually, to panic. But don’t despair: I am here to help!

When I found out about it, several months after I moved here, I almost had a panic attack” — Andrea told me — “I frantically started to try to remove my info from the internet, but nothing really worked. In my panic, I thought about calling the police or something like that but then I realized that this is just the way it is here. Even if I am not comfortable at all with this”.

Image from: https://blog.marketo.com/content/uploads/2020/03/AdobeStock_279957470-scaled.jpeg

Public information (?)

When a person is a full resident of Sweden, meaning they are granted a social security number (personnummer), their data are made available to all as Public Information through the Tax Agency of Sweden (Skatteverket). Skatteverket then passes the information they have including the population register to a database for distribution.

Swedish media outlet Expressen offers to paying subscriber the possibility to search in a list comprehensive of all Swedish municipalities “the women who have the highest salary where you live”. Source: https://www.expressen.se/dinapengar/kvinnorna-som-har--hogst-lon-dar-du-bor/

How to remove your data (kind of)

I will now tell you what I did in order to more or less successfully hide my personal data, without having it marked as secret (sekretessmarkering) at Skatteverket level. In fact, the security department at my job has been very nice and they offered to help me apply for sekretess, mainly because of the aforementioned stalking I have been the victim of (before the pandemic, I was sitting in my office which is a public building). However, even with the tribunal documents stating that I was the victim in a stalking case, the only way to be granted a hidden address would have been for me to change my residence. Something that, in my opinion, does not make much sense and, on the contrary, penalizes the victim that is likely to be already vulnerable. I cannot say much regarding the procedure: I sent in my documents and received a call from a Skatteverket employee the day after, telling me that unfortunately, the only way to hide my address at the outpost would be to move. Therefore, while I find grotesque this rule, the system should work. If you are already considered moving, you can find most information at Skatteverket (look for sekretessmarkering).

  • Same procedure for Ratsit.se : write an email to kundservice@ratsit.se — however, keep in mind that Ratsit still provides the service to paying subscribers (!).
  • Same procedure for Eniro: you can contact them at privatpersoner@eniro.com

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