Two Swedish Prime Ministers Step Down Amid Data Security Scandal
The accidental disclosure of sensitive information is being highlighted as an example of how policymakers often fail to ensure the proper implementation of basic security.
Swedish ministers Anders Ygeman, Home Affairs Minister, and Anna Johansson, Infrastructure Minister, have both resigned due to the scandals of a data breach.
Sensitive data of Swedish citizens may have been leaked to contractors in Romania and the Czech Republic as well as other eastern European countries. The information was potentially leaked during an outsourced project form IBM Sweden. Among the possible information were Swedish driver's license records and confidential information on military vehicles.
The extent of the data leak is still unclear although it occurred at a time where governments across the globe are suffering an increase of cyber security threats from hacker groups and attacks sponsored by other countries' intelligence agencies. The leak in Sweden however, is not related to any of these activities.
The accidental disclosure of sensitive information is being highlighted as an example of how policymakers often fail to ensure the proper implementation of basic security to keep the citizens data protected.
Stefan Löfven, Swedish Prime Minister, made a statement on the resignation of both Ygeman and Johansson claiming that they have stepped down due to the data leak scandal. He is opposed it the idea of an early election as he believes it would cause more harm than good. "I have to take responsibility for the country. It wouldn’t serve Sweden to throw the country into a political crisis."
As the world is becoming more connected the risks of data leakage is becoming a concern for more citizens. Simon Fischer-Hübner, privacy and security professor at Karlstad University in Sweden, says "There are national security and personal privacy implications to this data breach. There’s been a lot of bad practices."
IBM has said in a statement that they take "data privacy very seriously."
News outlet Politico says "the controversy in Sweden dates back to 2015, when the country’s transport agency outsourced its IT operations to IBM Sweden. Revelations about how the sensitive data was sent overseas and may have been illegally accessed by contractors was first made public earlier this month after local media reports claimed that Maria Ågren, the Swedish Transport Agency’s director general, was fired and fined by the country’s authorities in January for the mishandling of classified material."