Embassy security cameras ‘could break Swedish law’

Half of embassies in Stockholm could be breaking Swedish law by installing security cameras that monitor passers-by, newspaper Dagens Nyheter has alleged.

The US Embassy has twelve cameras, but there are no signs to warn members of the public that they are being monitored. Warning signs are compulsory when installing security cameras in Sweden. DN reported that guards inside the embassy were also photographing passers-by using hand-held cameras.

Robert Hilton, Counselor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy, said he could not comment on matters of security. He said if they had queries about Swedish law they would contact the Swedish Foreign Ministry.

Security cameras are a sensitive issue in Sweden, with public acceptance much lower than in many other countries.

The Serbian Embassy has one camera aimed at the pavement outside. The embassy does not have a permit for the camera.

“We have taken for granted that it is OK to have security cameras,” said the embassy’s first secretary, Vladimir Stamenovic. He told DN that the embassy would now contact the County Administrative Board, which grants camera permits.

Only 14 of 99 foreign embassies have permits for their security cameras in Stockholm. In addition to the US and Serbia, countries whose embassies have cameras but no permits include Italy, Estonia, Saudia Arabia, North Korea, Japan, Iran, Hungary, Turkey, Thailand, Poland, Malaysia, Libya, South Korea and Russia.