Sweden has proposed banning the public use of legal document search engine Lexbase, which is used to identify the ethnic origins of Swedish criminal suspects.
According to the Swedish government, the data released by the website is too sensitive for the public and should be limited only to professionals like lawyers, journalists, and researchers. Previously, the website was protected under the Swedish Freedom of Expression Act, but the new legislation could limit what data they are allowed to release, Dagens Industri reports.
In a statement posted to their website, Lexbase wrote: “The right to read these public documents easily via Lexbase will, if the proposal is adopted, be reserved to professionals, such as lawyers, journalists, and various companies.”
While Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said that journalistic activity would not be affected, he left the definition of what constitutes “journalistic activity” open to question.
For many years, the Swedish government has stopped the collection of statistics relating to the ethnic or religious background of criminals, making it difficult for researchers to track the correct rate of migrant crime, as opposed to crimes committed by native Swedes.
Some, like police officer Peter Springare, have claimed that the majority of serious crimes are committed by migrants or individuals from migrant backgrounds. Others have used freedom of information requests to look at crimes on a case-by-case basis and track the rate at which criminals born overseas have offended.
One research project attempted to look solely at cases of gang rape in Sweden and found, through examining court documents, that nine out of 10 gang rapes were committed by asylum seekers and individuals with a migration background.