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Authorities selling personal details to ad firms

Photo: Scanpix

The Swedish Transport Administration earns SEK 30 million annually by selling details about Swedes to companies, each request for information by a company costs SEK 2, newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports.

Several other government agencies do the same, the newspaper reports, including the Tax Authority and the Swedish Companies Registration Authority, and they do not inform the people whose information they are handing over.

Due to freedom of information legislation the authorities are allowed to pass on the data, such as address and telephone number, but Anna Hörnlund, a legal expert at the Data Inspection Board says there is a dilemma when authorities are selling the information for commercial purposes.

"That the authorities are systematically selling their registers to advertising companies, for example, is something completely different", she told the paper, "It is completely fair to ask why public agencies are selling our details. It's not strange at all that people are surprised and upset by it all."

The student loans agency CSN also passes on information, but does not charge for the service.

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