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Between 250 Years of Free Information and 20 Years of EU and Internet
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Law, Department of Law.
2016 (English)In: Etikk i praksis, ISSN 1890-3991, E-ISSN 1890-4009, Vol. 10, no 1, 27-44 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The constitutionally-based right of access to documents has a long history in Sweden and is considered crucial to Swedish democracy. On entering the EU in 1995, Sweden declared that public access to official records forms part of Sweden's constitutional, political and cultural heritage. The members of the EU for their part declared that they took it for granted that Sweden would fully comply with Community (now Union) law with respect to openness and transparency. Sweden continues to push for transparency when EU legislation that potentially contains secrecy clauses is negotiated. It turns out, however, that EU membership does pose challenges to the strong Swedish right of access to documents. The protection of personal data is controversial in Sweden to the extent that the stricter EU legislation clashes with the traditionally weak protection of privacy in Swedish law; the Swedish right of access to information has largely outweighed the right to privacy. Large amounts of publicly available personal data are amassed in databases by private actors for commercial reasons, under the protection of the Swedish constitution. This is causing problems, especially since Sweden considers Swedish constitutional law to precede EU legislation in the field of access to information. Sweden will somehow have to solve the dilemmas caused by the differing traditions of transparency between itself and other EU member states. Official Swedish inquiries and the EU Regulation will provide many answers to these questions in 2016.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 10, no 1, 27-44 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Public Law
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-276354DOI: 10.5324/eip.v10i1.1950ISI: 000376568500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-276354DiVA: diva2:902634
Public Domain and Democracy in the Digital Age
Available from: 2016-02-11 Created: 2016-02-11 Last updated: 2016-07-07Bibliographically approved

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Österdahl, Inger
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