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Rail service's hidden cameras 'illegal': agency

Rail service's hidden cameras 'illegal': agency

Published: 20 Dec 2011 15:03 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Dec 2011 15:03 GMT+01:00

Sweden's national rail service, SJ, has been slammed by the Data Inspection Board (Datainspektionen) after it was discovered the company was filming staff with hidden cameras to stop widespread pilfering on trains.

”To watch over people this way in order to catch a perpetrator seems very much like the secret surveillance that only the police and other crime-fighting agencies can undertake, and then only in the case of serious offences,” said director general Göran Gräslund in a statement on Tuesday.

The Data Inspection Board had received complaints that SJ had been monitoring cleaners by use of secret cameras without informing the staff that they were being filmed.

According to SJ, they had been suffering from problems with pilfering on their trains.

The company had noticed significant shrinkage in the stocks of liquor, beer, food, and candy found on several restaurant cars, the Metro newspaper reported at the time.

To combat the problem, the company installed secret surveillance cameras on two of the trains were most of the offences seemed to occur.

Following the camera's installation, ten members of the train's cleaning crews were caught in the act, with one suspect being recorded literally wiping the shelves clean and depositing the booty into a large plastic garbage bag.

However, union representatives complained that SJ lacked a permit to install hidden surveillance cameras in the workplace.

And according to the Data Inspection Board, SJ was violating current Swedish legislation on camera surveillance when they had the cameras installed.

In their decision, the agency noted that secret surveillance is only allowed in extenuating circumstances, when the aim is to combat serious crime.

Pilfering was not deemed serious enough to warrant hidden cameras.

Earlier in the year the Data Inspection Board approved hidden camera surveillance at Danderyds Sjukhus in Stockholm, which had been experiencing problems with sabotage of sterile goods.

”But that was exceptional circumstances due to the serious risks that the sabotage could ensue,” Gräslund said.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:43 December 20, 2011 by Douglas Garner
Why is employer or even student survelience such a big deal in Sweden... I just don't understand. If an employer notifies employees that survelience may be employed without notice... they can accept the rules when they accept the job. Regarding students, it is generally only done for their own protection and can help deter bullying and child abuse or kidnapping. The only ones who should protest are those with something to hide!
19:55 December 20, 2011 by Svensksmith
Pilfering is illegal, too.
20:16 December 20, 2011 by Keith #5083
#Svensksmith

Apparently, only if you get caught...and then the proof cannot be in photographic/video format, so it's the catcher's word against the caught. So if the catcher goes to court with the caught the court catches the catcher and frees the caught.

It's easier to understand fly-fishing or cricket!
21:08 December 20, 2011 by Svensksmith
Who's on first?
21:24 December 20, 2011 by Keith #5083
the one before the second.Just a minute, that can't be right.Oh, this will take hours to figure out. I need to do it another day, and that'll take weeks,if not months.

Oh, s**t - that's another year gone!

Here comes 2012.
05:16 December 21, 2011 by Borilla
SJ can't run trains on time or, often, even at all. They vie with British rail as possibly the worst service in Europe. Now, when they finally get something right, it is allegedly illegal. Stealing, whether you call it "pilfering" or theft is a crime. Isn't it for the courts to decide the issue, not the Data Inspection Board? When last I heard, employment did not come with a free pass to steal from your employer, even if it is a bunch of worthless buggers like SJ.
09:16 December 21, 2011 by Grokh
if its a public place then put cameras wherever they want.(except for bathrooms.)
09:53 December 21, 2011 by Keith #5083
#Svensksmith

Ah, I saved a year. What's on second, huh?
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