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Rail service’s hidden cameras ‘illegal’: agency

Sweden's national rail service, SJ, has been slammed by the Data Inspection Board (Datainspektionen) after it was discovered the company was filming staff with hidden cameras to stop widespread pilfering on trains.

Rail service's hidden cameras 'illegal': agency

”To watch over people this way in order to catch a perpetrator seems very much like the secret surveillance that only the police and other crime-fighting agencies can undertake, and then only in the case of serious offences,” said director general Göran Gräslund in a statement on Tuesday.

The Data Inspection Board had received complaints that SJ had been monitoring cleaners by use of secret cameras without informing the staff that they were being filmed.

According to SJ, they had been suffering from problems with pilfering on their trains.

The company had noticed significant shrinkage in the stocks of liquor, beer, food, and candy found on several restaurant cars, the Metro newspaper reported at the time.

To combat the problem, the company installed secret surveillance cameras on two of the trains were most of the offences seemed to occur.

Following the camera’s installation, ten members of the train’s cleaning crews were caught in the act, with one suspect being recorded literally wiping the shelves clean and depositing the booty into a large plastic garbage bag.

However, union representatives complained that SJ lacked a permit to install hidden surveillance cameras in the workplace.

And according to the Data Inspection Board, SJ was violating current Swedish legislation on camera surveillance when they had the cameras installed.

In their decision, the agency noted that secret surveillance is only allowed in extenuating circumstances, when the aim is to combat serious crime.

Pilfering was not deemed serious enough to warrant hidden cameras.

Earlier in the year the Data Inspection Board approved hidden camera surveillance at Danderyds Sjukhus in Stockholm, which had been experiencing problems with sabotage of sterile goods.

”But that was exceptional circumstances due to the serious risks that the sabotage could ensue,” Gräslund said.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Trains stopped between Stockholm and Gothenburg

Trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg have been stopped and between Stockholm and Malmö severely disrupted due to a fire and several electrical faults.

Trains stopped between Stockholm and Gothenburg

“We have problems with all rail traffic south of Norrland,” Peter Jonsson, from the Swedish Transport Administration, told the country’s TT newswire. “The heat has of course had an impact, particularly when it concerns the fire, but we’re not otherwise speculating on the cause.” 

According to the agency, the issues are the result of four separate incidents, a fire south of Hallsberg, an overhead power contact line, which has snapped, and two electrical faults. 

Peter Krameus, a spokesperson for Sweden’s state-owned rail company SJ, said that all trains were being sent back to the stations from which they most recently departed until the faults could be corrected. 

While trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg have been stopped completely, trains between Stockholm and Malmö have been affected by two problems with overhead lines. Trains between Mjölby and Nässjö and Eslöv and Stehag are travelling onto on one of the two lines now. 

“That doesn’t mean that all traffic has stopped, but it’s going to mean cancelled trains and delayed departures,” Jonsson said. 

So far, 50 of SJ’s train departures have been cancelled as a result of the faults. 

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