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Malmö gets thumbs up for text message pee charge

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15:51 CEST+02:00
Sweden's Data Inspection Board (Datainspektionen) has approved a new system of paying for public toilets using text messages in Malmö's famous Folkets Park.

Visitors to a selection of the park's toilets have been surprised to be confronted with a list of instructions before they can do their business.

First, loo-goers are requested to send a message to a number detailed on the toilet door. Then there is a short wait before visitors receive a code, which they enter into a touch pad before finally getting the job done.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Data Inspection Board said it cannot see any legal barrier preventing the use of the new payment method.

The board began looking into the mobile phone pee charge after receiving several complaints from citizens concerned that their mobile numbers were being saved by the City of Malmö. Toilet users were worried that their privacy could be violated if the council was able to access personal data.

But Malmö council stressed that it was not able to retrieve mobile numbers and had no means of tracking down a toilet visitor. A spokesperson for the Data Inspection Board told The Local that they have decided to close the case and approve the new system.

Park manager Sverker Haraldsson said he was overjoyed that the board had ruled not to challenge the new piddle regime.

"I do not have anything against the SMS toilet. On the contrary I like it, it is a safe facility to avoid any sort of hassle and for all our tourists we do provide toilets that are free of charge," he told The Local.

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