In a ruling on Friday, Stockholm county administrative board (Länstyrelsen) wrote that permission for surveillance in public places would constitute an excessive invasion of private integrity. The board ruled that this concern was paramount to the needs of the embassy to ensure its security.
“We are naturally conscious of the threats against the embassy and its operations but we consider the area over which the embassy wishes to conduct surveillance is too large in relation to the concerns for private integrity in the vicinity,” wrote Ulf Eriksson of the country administrative board in a press release.
Ericsson revealed that the board rejected the US embassy’s application as they declined to divulge what their cameras filmed.
Dagens Nyheter is credited with having brought the matter to the attention of the board. The newspaper published an article in November 2007 which drew attention to the fact that around 20 embassies in Stockholm were operating camera surveillance without permission.
15 embassies have since submitted applications for permission to film in the beginning of the year, six have so far been approved. There remain eight applications outstanding.
According to Swedish law surveillance cameras that film public places are subject to permits. No permit is required for areas to which there is no public access.