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Court slams laundry room surveillance

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 20 May 2010, 09:17

Published: 20 May 2010 09:17 GMT+02:00

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According to the Administrative Court of Appeal (Kammarrätten), Eslövs Bostäder, a public housing firm in southern Sweden, has on two occasions traced slovenly tenants with the help of their electronic pass-keys and ruled that the practice is illegal according to the Personal Data Act.

The appeal was lodged by Eslövs Bostäder against the Data Inspection Board (Datainspektionen), a public authority tasked with the protection of individual privacy in the information society, arguing that the housing act permits the registration of logging information in order to tackle "reprehensible behaviour" among tenants.

The board had previously ordered the housing company to cease and desist from the practice, arguing that while the housing company may have the right to eject tenants who do not tidy up after them, electronic pass-key information can not be used as it constitutes a violation of an individual's personal integrity.

"The purpose of electronic keys is to open doors, not to check the everyday behaviour of tenants," the board wrote in a submission to the court.

The court has now concurred the Data Inspection Board's reasoning and ruled that the Personal Data Act only permits the release of personal details with the express permission of the individual concerned.

Story continues below…

The court also observed that the laundry-room booking system was sufficient for Eslövs Bostäder to identify its errant tenants and take the required steps to ensure that order was restored.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:08 May 20, 2010 by christo
whatas going on here. u r now getting in peoples laundry. leave the pple of there freedom. everything , pipping , pipping. crazy.
11:06 May 20, 2010 by Angusthefirst
Laundry room rage strikes again, in a high-tech way this time. I've seen some downright nasty letters stuck to my communal laundry wall, one even threatening to kill a cat of a person who was leaving the cat hair in the laiundry after they finished (I never noticed it, nut anyway....).

Swedes and laundry rooms don't mix. Be scared for yourselves and your pets....
12:20 May 20, 2010 by Proud-Muslim
Let me wash my clothes please.
14:03 May 20, 2010 by bbeynch
I would consider it extremely selfish, arrogant and inconsiderate to not tidy up after oneself in the laundry room. Living together in an apartment building means being nice to your neighbors and not act in a boorish manner. People who behave in an offensive manner and who are filthy are probably in violation of their proprietary lease, and should be evicted! Hence Kammarrätten is dead wrong on this one. According to the story, surveillance is clearly warranted in this case and should shove the Personal data Act down the toilet
14:17 May 20, 2010 by Kronaboy
I think it's a bloody good idea, I'm sick and tired of tiding up after other people.
14:39 May 20, 2010 by EtoileBrilliant
We published rules and circulated them to every apartment.

Same old story, the usual suspects leave their stuff in the dryer or washer and go to work. For them its somebody else's problem. I've taken to throwing out single socks from their laundry when people leave it in the dryer for me to take out. If they are persistent offenders, I move on to larger garments. Sooner or later they get the message.
15:56 May 20, 2010 by pjtaipale
EtoileBrilliant: so they actually go to work? That is remarkable. More often the people who ignore rules regarding reasonable behaviour in common premises don't go to work, preferring idleness and anti-social behaviour to the indecency and inconvenience of being subject to the oppression of an employer.
16:03 May 20, 2010 by Shaarila
i am wondering how is it possible to mess up a laundry room? Being a private person, i do laundry in my own apartment, and all it takes is to clean the filter of the drier and drain extra water. never had to do any special cleaning ritual after that. so how on earth do the manage to mess it all up???
17:00 May 20, 2010 by k9dr
Come on, show us the cameras, this must be a Seinfelt episode. Get a life.
18:06 May 20, 2010 by Scepticion
So, you can't check the door records to see if someone went in or out,

yet, record companies can demand all the records from the internet providers to see what you did when???

How totally non-sensical.
18:40 May 20, 2010 by Rick Methven
@proud muslim

"Let me wash my clothes please"

Please do wash your clothes the stench is terrible
19:52 May 20, 2010 by kenny8076
i love how there are so many ''rights'' for people, a simple key guard tool used to catch slobs..... in D.C. a few years ago the city wanted to put up cameras on street corners in the bad parts of town do to the record murders and label ''Murder capital of the country'', instead it didn't happen because everyone was too worried about invasion of privacy...... people make me sick. ''Rights'' are the reason we have chaos and insane legal systems.
23:13 May 20, 2010 by Dr. Dillner
@Rick Methven

Man, you're cold!!
00:21 May 21, 2010 by Toonie
Definitely a topic for those new immigration orientation classes.
04:25 May 21, 2010 by Mak81
@Rick Methven

I must say its better to look at yourself before pointing fingers at others, thats a very stupid thing to say actually it can be offensive for someone after all its not mine and your business.

Like the saying

do respect get respect
07:38 May 21, 2010 by Decedo
I guess the origin goal probably worked. The people who lodged the complaint, where probably the people leaving a mess in the laundry room.
07:43 May 21, 2010 by Douglas Garner
The best laundry system I have ever been involved was in Los Angeles. The complex had a cable TV channel that monitored the laundry room 24-7. The complete elimination of privacy, in this case, provided physical safety, eliminated unwanted behavior in the otherwise isolated areas, reduced worry about clothes while in machines, and encouraged cleaning up after oneself.
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