In a long, solid report in Liberal Debatt, freelance journalist Anna Gullberg describes how the extensive cheating with false identities intervenes in more and more areas in the wake of the Swedish migration failure.
Several parties have raised the issue of the need for a new census in Sweden. It’s welcome. As many as 200,000 people can live at incorrect addresses, according to the Swedish Tax Agency. Many also have incorrect ID documents. Iraq’s former defense minister, who received a grant from Sweden for several years through a false identity, is perhaps the most famous. But he is not alone.
However, conducting an old-fashioned “population and housing census” is easier said than done. It is far from certain that the false personal data will be rectified via door knocking in an increasingly digital reality. It is voluntary to open the door and the authorities have little opportunity to check that those who live there are telling the truth.
The well-reputed freelance journalist Anna Gullberg, former editor-in-chief of Gefle Dagblad, among other things, reports in a long, fact-packed report in Liberal Debatt (15/9) on the extensive shadow society that has emerged in Sweden, where the lack of context enables changing identities.
We get to read about fake drivers who take driving licenses for others, with their own picture but the other person’s name and social security number on their fake ID. Then the customer can only replace the image by “losing” their driver’s license. Whops, you have a genuine ID document! This is set in system. The result is not only life-threatening drivers on the roads but also more false identities that can be used for crime and subsidy offenses. A person with several identities can get unemployment insurance on one identity and at the same time work black or white with one of the others.
However, driving licenses are not the only loophole. The Border Police estimates that 70 percent of asylum seekers have given a false identity, based on the checks made with their home countries. The Swedish Migration Agency’s LMA card can lead to ID cards via employment from rogue employers. Coordination numbers and LMA cards from the Swedish Migration Board may in many cases pass as a proven identity, even though this is not the intention. Lost passports are another common method used not least by human traffickers.
False identities also used by professional criminals traveling into the country, expelled under one identity, only to soon be back under another. In this way, the police find it difficult to identify the criminals. Swedish confidentiality rules between the authorities further complicate the work. Criminals who engage in mass crimes (many crimes with a low penalty value for themselves) have a good chance of escaping completely. Without a real identity, it is easy to disappear if you are arrested and released. The police do not have the authority or resources to arrest every thief. The control of people who are in the country illegally is also often absent for practical reasons, the same applies to those who give the wrong address for tax reasons, couples who are separated for benefit reasons and so on. This is true despite the fact that individual authorities have suspicions of irregularities, the tip of the iceberg.
Gullberg’s report is solid. It points to profound problems in Swedish society. Government in Sweden is structured on the basis that people cooperate to a great extent voluntarily, are easy to control and are part of established contexts. Our rules are designed for 1950s and 1970s Sweden. The population register is based on a computer system from the 1980s, which alone sets obstacles. The entire system is built from the beginning for a society with social control and internalized norms, gradually supplemented with privacy protection measures and extended civil rights. Urbanization and global migration have broken these conditions.
Of course, not all migrants are cheaters, but a large proportion of cheating is linked to migration. The powerlessness revealed by Swedish authorities in the face of a new reality is depressing for honest citizens, not least for all the immigrants who try to do the right thing for themselves. Welfare loses billions every year, affecting the weakest. Social morality is undermined, contradictions increase.
What is urgently needed are more reliable ID systems. The EU has taken the initiative to increase digital coordination and the use of biometric data, such as fingerprints and eye scans. It can solve a lot. But one consequence is that surveillance will increase. It will be the price that everyone has to pay, not just those who cheat. The state is potentially given very powerful tools to control the citizens. Years of carelessness in both migration policy and the management of Swedish identity data are difficult to undo. But it is high time to deal with the consequences.