Sweden’s minority government was battling to contain the fallout Monday after a massive leak that may have made confidential military information accessible abroad, as well as the private data of millions of citizens.
The leak made an entire database on Swedish drivers’ licenses available to technicians in the Czech Republic and Romania, with media reporting that the identities of intelligence agents may have been jeopardized.
“What has happened is an accident,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told a news conference in Stockholm, adding that an investigation has been launched.
“It has happened in violation of the law and exposed Sweden and Swedish citizens to harm,” Lofven said.
One of the largest breaches of government information in Sweden in decades, the scandal may threaten the ruling Social Democrat-led coalition as opposition parties have said they could put the issue to a confidence vote in parliament.
The leak stems from the transport agency’s hiring of IBM in 2015 to take over its IT operations.
IBM in turn used subcontractors in the Czech Republic and Romania — making the sensitive information accessible by foreign technicians.
– ‘Keys to the kingdom’ –
The transport agency’s director general Maria Agren resigned in January for unknown reasons, but she has since confessed to violating data handling and accepted a fine of 70,000 Swedish kronor (around 7,000 euros, $8,000), according to media reports earlier this month.