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Court slams laundry room surveillance

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Court slams laundry room surveillance
09:17 CEST+02:00
The appeals court has ruled that a municipal housing firm may not conduct computer surveillance of communal laundry rooms in order to identify tenants that had neglected to tidy up after them.

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.

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.

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