This is easy in Sweden. First even when I came to Sweden in 2003 it was possible to go to the tax office and request directly a person’s earnings during the previous tax year. Potential employers often do this to check that what you have stated on your present earnings is true. You as the data subject have no idea that this has happened. Although if an organisation makes a formal request for your earnings, credit status etc., you will be informed of this by a letter in the post.

Well a development has occured. It is now possible for any person to go online and request anonymously your earnings for the previous tax year in Sweden at http://www.extrakoll.se/, and you get the information by SMS.

extrakoll.se 1

So you just type in the name of the person that you want to know their earnings. The image below states (in Swedish) that you should send an SMS to number 72550 with word INKOMST. The earnings for the person will be sent anonymously to your mobile telephone!

extrakoll.se 2

I tested this and it works! The SMS arrived in a matter of seconds.

I really need to look more into this from the EU data privacy perspective. Or anyone else, can you comment on this? Surely your earnings should be classified as ‘sensitve’ information as it can discrimate against you no matter how you look at it. The only positive aspect is that you can ascertain if you are earning a similar level of earnings as colleagues doing the same work particularly important for women… but still I don’t like this aspect of not being able to choose myself to remove myself from this register!

Thanks to May for coming across this!