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Sweden Democrats: ‘new census will require checks on flats and houses’

A senior Sweden Democrat has said that the coming census – Sweden's first for more than 30 years – will require inspectors visiting flats and houses to make sure everyone is counted.

Sweden Democrats: 'new census will require checks on flats and houses'
Richard Jomshof, from the Sweden Democrats, is chair of the Swedish parliament’s Justice Committee. Photo: Ali Lorestani/TT

Richard Jomshof, chair of the Swedish parliament’s Justice Committee, has said that the approach taken back in 1990, when Sweden carried out a census by sending questionnaires out to every address in the country, was not suited to today’s Sweden. 

“The problem today is that we have an extremely large number of people living here illegally, so it’s not good enough to just send out questionnaires, but will instead need an investigatory body which would, in some areas, knock on doors looking for people.” 

“You can have any number of people registered as living at some addresses,” he added. “It’s a very different Sweden today from what we had in 1990.” 

Sweden’s three governing parties agreed to hold a new census as part of the Tidö Agreement they made with the far-right Sweden Sweden Democrats. 

In the agreement the parties agreed that “work shall be carried out to prepare a large-scale national census”.  

The work would start with an individual being given a “myndighetsöverskridande uppdrag“, a charge which will give them power over several government agencies, to prepare how to carry out such a census. 

The agreement also calls for changes to make it “easier to trace afterwards who has been registered in a certain apartment or property in order to prosecute civil registration offences.”

The government in the budget announced in November earmarked 500m kronor over the next three years for preparing the census.

Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson told newspaper Dagens Nyheter in a written comment that she agreed that checks were needed, and that part of this budget would go towards “targeted checks in areas where there is considered to be a significant risk of incorrect registration in the population register”.

Jomshof said that he didn’t think people’s privacy rights would be at risk from having inspectors knocking on their doors. 

“If someone knocks on my door and wonders who lives there and I’ve got my hands clean, I have absolutely no problem with it,” he said. “This is about our entire welfare society. But of course, this has to be done in the proper way.” 

As well as visiting addresses, the census is also expected to involve a check on all the coordination numbers (samordningsnummer) currently issued. 

“In connection with the census, coordination numbers where the holder cannot confirm their identity in a convincing way will be recalled and cancelled.” 

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POLITICS

Norwegian justice minister admits to having TikTok on work phone

Norway's 29-year-old justice minister has narrowly escaped a grilling by parliament after it emerged that she had downloaded the Chinese app TikTok onto her ministerial phone.

Norwegian justice minister admits to having TikTok on work phone

Emilie Enger Mehl, Minister for Justice and Public Security, finally admitted on Wednesday last week that she had installed the controversial video app, following more than a month of stalling on the issue. 

“Ever since questions were asked about this the first time, I have tried to answer both the parliament and the media as openly and honestly as I think is sensible about my TikTok use,” she told the broadcaster TV2.

“But now there is so much speculation, which I feel goes beyond what is warranted, I would like to clarify that I had TikTok on my non-secure work phone from the end of August until one of the first days of October.” 

Mehl has faced sharp criticism in recent days for the evasive answers she has given in parliament over her use of the app, which some security experts suspect may be used by the Chinese government for intelligence services. 

But the leader of the Norwegian parliament’s Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs committee, Peter Frølich, said he did not feel it was necessary to hold a formal hearing. 

“The control committee is spending time on big and serious matters now,” he said. “The Minister of Justice’s use of TikTok has been admitted and corrected, and that should be enough.” 

Several opposition politicians have criticised Mehl for failing to come clean earlier. 

“The mistake she has made is trying to mislead the Storting,” Erna Solberg, leader of the Conservative Party, told NRK last week.

Audun Jøsang, Professor of cyber security at the University of Oslo, said that it was “absolutely problematic” that Mehl had had the app on her phone. 

“Many people use the same device for private and work life, but people in important positions really do need to differentiate between them,” he told VG. “We may not suspect Facebook of spying on Norwegian citizens for strategic reasons. But it is plausible that a Chinese player like TikTok does it, because Chinese businesses have a duty to assist the state.”

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