Permanent video monitoring of spaces in eastern Skaraborg’s fire stations where crew members change clothes when responding to an emergency overstepped the mark, Sweden’s privacy protection authority (IMY) has ruled.

“As the camera surveillance has covered employees who are in a dependent relationship to their employer, round-the-clock surveillance is too far-reaching, especially when the rescue service states that it is not necessary,” said Jenny Bard, a lawyer at IMY’s camera group.

“In addition, the fire fighters have been filmed without any delimitation when they change clothes in the event of an alarm.”

The IMY, Integritetsskyddsmyndigheten in full, investigated after receiving information the practice went on at several fire stations in eastern Skaraborg.

The authority found surveillance was in real time around the clock, though the rescue service stated it was only needed when fire station crews responded to an alarm.

In its decision, IMY accepts the fire service has compelling reasons for camera surveillance, but it should be only activated when there is an alarm. Areas where fire fighters change clothes should be masked off so only necessary information is captured on video.

The authority issued an administrative fine of SEK350,000 ($40,700, €34,300) against the executive board of eastern Skaraborg’s rescue service.

IMY also noted that the camera surveillance has recently ceased.


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