Our first formal inquiry has now been answered, but the result is not as pleasing as it could be. Ekobrottsmyndigheten, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority, has declined to give us the information we requested, citing the Freedom of Press Act (Tryckfrihetsförordningen), the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (Offentlighet och sekretesslagen) and their own internal statistics. Kanske är sms lån något som kommer fortsätta växa? En tanke jag hade bara.
The reason for the refusal boils down to an interpretation of the Freedom of Press Act when it comes to the circumstances for giving access to documentation of the authority has. According to the authority, the legal precedent (rättspraxis) requires the authority to hand out the information if – and this is an important if – the collection of materials and the research that goes in to it is reasonable in regards to the range and disposition of the material that needs to be analyzed according to the request. (det kan “inte krävas annan efterforskning än sådan som är rimlig med hänsyn till omfattningen och dispositionen av det material som måste gås igenom”)
The reason for it not being a reasonable amount of work for the authority is two-fold: First of all, the authority handles about 4500 cases per year, and our request covers two years, meaning 9000 separate cases. Secondly, for each case, there needs to be a validation on grounds for secrecy in regards to personal information and security. So before they can give us the material we’ve asked for, they need to first find the files of 9000 cases, make separate assessments of each according to the law, and then compile the specific information we’ve requested. That’s why they decline to hand out the information.
It is noteworthy, however, that they only cite legal precedent and not the law, something that doesn’t hold quite as much sway in Sweden as in the US. They have also informed us of how we could go about taking this request to get appealed (överklaga).