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April 19, 2014

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Crime records go online in Sweden amid protests

Updated Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 | 10:08 a.m.

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A website that lets Swedes check each other's criminal records has sparked concerns over the privacy of ex-convicts.

Such databases are available in the United States, but aren't common in Europe, where privacy protection laws are typically stricter.

By searching the Lexbase database, launched Monday by a Swedish company, users can instantly find out whether a person has any convictions in the past five years. A fee is required to get more information.

Lexbase has a map with dots showing where convicted criminals live and plans to offer a mobile app alerting users when they enter a neighborhood with a high proportion of residents with criminal records.

Though such records are public in Sweden, critics said making them so easily accessible could make it harder for criminals to re-enter society.