Monday, June 18, 2007

Sweden cracks down on Internet salary snoopers

Scandinavian countries are often pointed to as a communitarian ideal, where transparency in the service of equality is valued over privacy in areas such as the publication of salary details. But it seems that in Sweden, the ease-of-access brought by the Internet to neighbours' income has caused a backlash:

The website,, sparked controversy as soon as it was launched because it allowed users to perform anonymous, free credit checks and salary searches on any Swedish citizen. Within just a few clicks, nosy neighbours, business competitors and complete strangers were able to find out about each other's earnings and whether they had outstanding bills to be paid.

The Swedish Data Protection Board now requires the service to charge for searches, and to notify the identity of searchers to those whose information they access. Will this reprocity satisfy Swedes, or will pressure build to block public access to this information altogether?

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