Trash spies barred from taking digital photos

'Garbage spies' employed to take digital pictures of people incorrectly recycling their rubbish have been told by Stockholm county court that the practice must stop.

In its ruling the court cited Sweden’s personal data law, which says that only state authorities are allowed to handle personal information digitally when it comes to breaking the law.

The company which organizes the collection and sorting of garbage for recycling, FTI, was ordered last year by the Data Inspection Board to stop snapping careless recyclers and processing information about them.

FTI appealed the decision to the county court. But the company complied with the board’s wishes and stopped using digital cameras.

The restrictions have also meant that the company has had to use old-fashioned typewriters when reporting crimes.

“We hardly report anything to the police any more since we can’t afford to employ people who can use a typewriter,” CEO John Strand told Svenska Dagbladet.

FTI manages some 6,000 recycling points across the country. But every year the company spends many millions of kronor sorting out items which have been placed in the wrong green container, or which should never have been submitted for recycling at all.

To reduce the cost, FTI employed people to watch over the stations and equipped them with digital cameras so they could present evidence against the miscreants.

But the Data Inspection Board’s decision, signed by director general Göran Gräslund, made clear that there could be no exceptions from the law.


Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

Sweden's Christian Democrats have called for tougher sentences for sex offenders and making release conditional on chemical castration.

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

The Swedish Christian Democrats (KD) leader has called for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders as part of plans for a tougher grip on sexual crime and punishment in Sweden.

Speaking to the Swedish parliament on July 1st, KD party leader Ebba Busch said, “Every day, 27 rapes are reported. How many days must pass before the government takes action?”

“Today we propose that rapists and people who commit sexual crimes against children should be able to be chemically castrated.”

The controversial chemical castration proposal was the headline grabbing soundbite in a broader set of proposals to recalibrate the structure of Sweden’s sexual crime sentencing.

Among KD’s proposed sentencing changes is a life sentence for the aggravated rape of a child, the removal of automatic conditional release for sex offenders, and an increase in the sentence for aggravated rape up to a maximum of 25 years.

In addition, they want a “monitoring period” for convicts who have been released, equivalent to one third of the sentence served.

They also want to establish a national knowledge centre for sexual violence where people who feel that they have “problematic sexuality” can receive support. The center must also “be able to administer chemical castration on a voluntary basis to those who are concerned about unwanted sexual thoughts and impulses and have a compulsive sexuality”.

READ ALSO: What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Chemical castration, she suggested, should be implemented as a condition of release for some sexual offenders. “It may mean that if a person like Nytorgsmannen is to be able to become a free man, a chemical castration must have taken place before the release,” Busch said, referring to Andreas Holm, a man sentenced in 2021 for 35 different crimes including 24 rapes.

But this is not the first time the Christian Democrats have toyed with the idea of chemical castration as a form of legal punishment. As far back as 20 years ago, under former leader Alf Svensson, the right-wing party raised the idea of conditional chemical castration of rapists and pedophiles.

At the time the proposal was rejected by all other parties.

Chemical castration, the process of preventing sex hormone production through chemicals, can reduce sexual libido but the effects on those with deviant behaviours are relatively unknown.

Chemical castration can also prove costly as it is not a one-off treatment but rather requires regular interventions, which means the police would be reliant on those sentences to chemical castration making regular trips to the authorities for further treatment.