Outrage over licence fee demand for CCTV

Outrage over licence fee demand for CCTV
Swedish business owners are up in arms over a recent push by the country’s television licencing bureau to collect fees from companies using surveillance cameras.

“It’s crazy, the screens aren’t used for watching TV,” said Dick Malmlund, head of security for the Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel), to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

According to Federation lawyer Anders Thelin, several of the organization’s member businesses have called in recent weeks to complain about the actions of Radiotjänst, the Swedish agency charged with collecting television licence fees.

“They’ve been called by Radiotjänst and when they say they have security cameras they get a bill in the mail,” he told DN.

Sweden’s laws governing TV licence fees defines a television receiver as a technical apparatus which is used to receive the broadcast or rebroadcast of a television programme, and includes devices which can be used for other purposes.

According to the Radiotjänst website, owners of video recorders and cameras with channel selectors, as well as computers equipped to receive television signals are also obligated to pay the 2076 kronor ($262) annual fee.

The income from the fees is used to finance Sweden’s public radio and television broadcasting services.

Thelin from the Swedish Trade Federation thinks the current legislation is too vague and takes issue with Radiotjänst’s interpretation that closed circuit television security systems are also covered by the law.

“There are problems with the law because technology is developing so quickly,” he said.

But Radiotjänst spokesperson Daniel Johansson maintained that the agency is merely following the letter of the law and that, as it stands, people with surveillance systems should by the fee.

“How one uses their receiver has no bearing on the matter, it is how a TV-receiver is defined that is important,” he told DN.

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