This week, the Supreme Court announced that a woman who sued Mrkoll database will have her case tried again. HD wants the Court of Appeal to consider whether it may be against the GDPR to keep a database of judgments online.
Mrkoll is one of several legal databases where, for a fee, you can obtain judgments and addresses by entering names or dates of birth. The person who searched the woman found out that she had been charged. The woman alleged that Mrkoll's publisher was guilty of insult and slander.
The district court's ruling states that Mrkoll has a certificate of publication, in the same way that traditional media have, and is thus protected by the Freedom of Expression Basic Law. Then exceptions to the GDPR are made.
Now the HD wants the case to be retried because "there is a lack of indicative rulings".
" It is known that there is a tension between the Swedish freedom of expression regulation and the protection of personal data. In principle, EU law should take precedence over national law, so I assume that HD feels that there are shortcomings in the Swedish system that must be investigated, says Daniel Westman, a lawyer specializing in media law.
The previous government proposed that the legal databases be limited, but was voted down by parliament, despite several parliamentary investigations.
" One objection is that restrictions can have negative consequences for traditional media. The second is that some have argued that when people are convicted of crimes, this is something that you have the right to access," says Daniel Westman.
Hundreds of thousands of judgments were issued a week
At the same time as the court wants to investigate, the number of databases will increase.
In the past five years, at least nine databases dedicated to background checks have received release certificates, several of them allowing paying users to search for convictions by name.
In the past three weeks, 36 Swedish district courts have handed over a total of 223,250 criminal convictions handed down between 2017 and 2022 to the company Bakgrundskollen.se.
Hear Daniel Westman explain more in the clip.