Happy Birthday 2 years on with GDPR!

In celebration for GDPR 2 years on, I thought to repost some blogposts from June 2018. However, when looking I realised that they were a few and the theme was strong on how our personal data is public in Sweden and the use of utgivningsbevis to keep this status quo. So, I ended writing an additional blogpost, realising that I’m still really unhappy about the Swedish status quo on this.

GDPR has brought progress in ensuring that we, data subjects, have rights over our personal data, but sadly what I posted 2 years ago is still acutely relevant today in 2020.

The fact is in Sweden our personal data is made public and we have no say! After all public is public, impossible to restrict processing when this is the case, and as acknowledged in privacy laws, not just in the EU. The data brokers get to this data scrape from public sources, do some intelligent profiling and sell on to businesses, e.g. based on where you live will determine how you are profiled and to whom you will be sold.

Someone tried to argue with me once that a street name (missing house no.) was not personal data. The fact is that the street where you live says quite a lot about who you are. It gives an indication on your wealth, if you’re young, with kids, or elderly and if you’re likely to have a garden, 1 or 2 cars, etc. Your street name is directly or indirectly linked to you as an individual. The street name could be enough that you receive cold calls either by phone or someone knocking on your door to sell you double-glazing.

In UK for example, you are hidden by default. The difference in Sweden is that it still stands today the clash between laws pertaining to ‘freedom of press’ versus ‘a right to a private life’. In Sweden it is the former which wins.

I read somewhere that there are 100s, maybe 1000s of complaints from Swedish data subjects on the lack of control and rights (as per GDPR) they have over their personal data. This is positive! People are aware of their rights and are asking questions, why is this happening? I can’t find the article now, so would appreciate if anyone can dig it up? The question is if this will change? Can it change?

The e-Privacy Regulation has something to protect from unsolicited calls, and by default protected, as in UK the resident needs to opt-in to be included in a public directory.

Protection against spam: this proposal bans unsolicited electronic communications by emails, SMS and automated calling machines. Depending on national law people will either be protected by default or be able to use a do-not-call list to not receive marketing phone calls. Marketing callers will need to display their phone number or use a special pre-fix that indicates a marketing call.

How it works in Sweden today is that every business needs to have a ‘do not call list’, it seems that what is proposed in the e-Privacy Regulation is a national list, which is an improvement, but still does not solve the root of the problem. I do not want my data public unless I have specifically consented to this or I have myself made my data public.

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