Worker at welfare agency leaked personal info for profit

"The more customers, the more money"
2:22 min

The social security agency has reported an employee for leaking personal data to a private company looking for new customers. And the agency suspects more employees could be involved in such schemes.

Recently, the management of Försäkringskassan (Swedish Social Insurance Agency) told media that the employee was suspected of having provided a private company with the national ID numbers of people with disabilities who were entitled to compensation. The employee was allegedly paid for the ID numbers, which the company could use to find prospective clients.

Writing in daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Acting Director-General of Försäkringskassan, Ann-Marie Begler, said that the agency had reported someone from the private company involved in the scheme. And she said the agency suspects that more employees may have committed crimes.

Begler wrote the agency had begun internal investigations. She told Swedish Radio that the agency might permit too much access to personal information and that even the private companies that provide personal assistance should be reviewed.

"I think there should be more comprehensive oversight of these companies," she said.

The employees face charges related to hacking, professional misconduct and breach of confidentiality obligations.

Therese Karlberg, who heads the department for people with disabilities at Försäkringskassan, told Radio Sweden that the suspected crime could indicate a larger problem with private companies, which vie for the business of a limited number of people with disabilities.

"When this [system with private companies offering assistance services] started in '94, there was only 6,000 persons receiving this assistance allowance. And today there is 16,000. So that's quite a rapid increase. When this started you were allowed approximately 67 hours per week. And today you receive 124 hours per week," said Karlberg. "We also point out that the legistlation has to be looked into basically."

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