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Press meeting in Stockholm July 24th. From left: Sweden's Commander-in-chief Micael Bydén, SÄPO Director Anders Thornberg, PM Anders Löfven and Director of Transportstyrelsen Jonas Bjelfvenstam. Photo: Provided

Sweden outsourced vehicle database, leaked huge amount of sensitive data

The Swedish vehicle database, containing all photos and addresses of car owners in the country, including persons with secret identities as well as military vehicles, has possibly been leaked.

Published: July 25, 2017, 9:11 pm

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    The possible leak occurred when the Swedish Transport Authority, Transportstyrelsen, decided to outsource it’s database to IBM to save money, a contract worth some 80 million euro. The data was migrated to a cloud server abroad and specialists from different countries were granted full access to the database with highest privileges without previous security screening required by law.

    This has been leaked:

    • All Swedish driver’s licences have been accessible to software developers in Czechia.
    • Addresses of persons with secret identities if they had a vehicle registered in their name. Serbian specialists managed firewalls and communications.
    • The leak included parts of the military vehicles database.
    • The Police criminal record and record of suspects.
    • Company secrets concerning new cars, since the Authority is responsible for approving new vehicle designs.
    All of Sweden's vehicle and driver's licence data may have been compromised. Photo: TUI

    All of Sweden’s vehicle and driver’s licence data may have been compromised. Photo: TUI


    The leak has affected millions of citizens in Sweden and was called a “disaster” by Sweden’s PM Stefan Löfven. Together with the head of the Swedish secret police, SÄPO, Commander-in-chief, Minister of Defence and the newly appointed Director of the Transportation Authority, he held a press meeting on July 24th about the dire situation.

    SÄPO Director Anders Thornberg said that it is not known if the sensitive data had reached a foreign power.

    – We have done an assessment and we do not know if the information has been revealed, but we act as if it had been revealed and are taking necessary steps to protect our continuous work, Thomberg said.

    Commander-in-chief Micael Bydén said that high level secret information concerning military vehicles is managed internally by the Swedish Armed Forces.

    – The Swedish Armed Forces are affected when it comes to certain data regarding vehicles and high level classified personal identities, Bydén said.

    The then Director of the Transport Authority, Maria Ågren, authorised the bypassing of the security regulation, signing a document titled “Departure from current jurisdiction”, which some critics translate as “breaking the law”. In effect three laws have been violated, governing the security of the state, protecting personal integrity and regulating what is public and what is not, as well as regulations within the agency it self.

    Maria Ågren. Photo: Naturvårdsverket

    Maria Ågren. Photo: Naturvårdsverket

    Ågren did this despite the agency’s security department objections, and didn’t inform the government until SÄPO launched an investigation against her. Only then did she call her superiors, informing them that SÄPO instructed her to stop the ongoing work, but that she would carry on as planned anyway. She didn’t receive any instructions from the government after this.

    Half year later, in January 2017, she was sentenced to a 7 000 euro fine and fired from her job. The government kept quiet about it until the scandal exploded in the media this July.

    PM Löfven told reporters on July 24th that he still has full confidence in his Ministers.

    MP Tomas Tobé for the conservative-liberal party Moderaterna and chairman of the Committee on Justice in the Parliament, tweeted: “It is obvious that the government tried to cover up this security scandal. Unbelievable!”.

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