No Dark Magic

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How to Make Your Personal Data Less Public

Posted at — Jul 5, 2020

When I got my personnummer, I didn’t realize how searchable I became on the internet. There’s no “Welcome to Sweden” brochure that mentions this bit, but if it existed, it should have said something like this:

  • your full name,

  • your full address down to the apartment number,

  • your birth date,

  • your mobile phone number,

  • your relationship status (married/single/divorced/widowed/etc)

…​are now all available to the public on the internet. Information on your taxes and by extension salary is also public knowledge, but to get that, people need to jump through some hoops. For the information listed above they don’t.

Some people are not bothered by this, while others are nervous about that bad Tinder date finding out where they live based on their phone number or just generally would prefer less exposure for personal reasons.

How to hide your data

Phone number

Mobile phone numbers are given out by the mobile operators (Telia, Tele2, Telenor, etc). Some don’t do it by default (e.g. Vimla), but most do. Contact the operator’s support about it, and the number will stop showing up on websites like hitta.se.

Other data on different websites

In the recent years it has become easier to hide personal data on the websites that allow searching among Swedish population. It used to involve way more writing to support, but now can often be done in a self-service manner. Keep in mind that usually this doesn’t mean being completely removed from their databases, but rather hidden from the public search results. If it’s a paying, logged-in user doing the search, your data might still show up.

Here’s how to do it:

  • hitta.se: go to the dedicated page, sign with BankID

  • merinfo.se: go to the dedicated page, sign with BankID

  • eniro.se: search yourself, click on the pen to edit, sign with BankID (if there’s no pen button on your profile, write to privatpersoner@eniro.com with your personnummer, name, address, and phone number); takes a few working days

  • ratsit.se: fill out the contact form, get an email with a .pdf form to fill out and sign; send it along with a copy of your ID as a letter to their office in Mölndal. Takes several working days after that.

There’s at least one more website that publishes this data and more — notably, criminal records. Previously, until they got a GDPR fine, they also published the payments defaults (betalningsanmärkningar). The website is called mrkoll.se, and they’re the least willing to hide, let alone delete, anyone’s data. They are the only website that publishes the "top searched people" and similar stats. In this question on a Swedish law Q&A website, someone wonders if there’s any legal ground to demand being removed from MrKoll. Apparently their profile has a big red warning sign saying they’ve been convicted in court. Unless someone pays 99 SEK to reveal more details, it’s impossible to know that there was no court, and the issue was in fact speeding while driving a car. As Lawline explains, there is nothing one can do in this situation other than ask MrKoll politely, and since their whole business model is displaying as much data as possible about as many people as possible (even if they moved away from Sweden, by the way), it’s unlikely they would do that.


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