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Sweden to outlaw pics taken by Peeping Toms

TT/The Local · 1 Mar 2012, 10:43

Published: 01 Mar 2012 10:43 GMT+01:00

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The government has long wanted to outlaw the act of secretly taking insulting pictures of people, but previous attempts have been criticized on the grounds that doing so would compromise people's freedom of expression.

"What we're trying to prevent are insulting pictures, that is the taking of pictures or filming in secret that infringe on a specific individual," justice minister Beatrice Ask told Sveriges Radio (SR) on Wednesday.

There have been several cases in which modern-day Peeping Toms have snapped pictures of women in various states of undress while they were in department store fitting rooms, public toilets, or showers.

The proliferation of mobile phones with cameras and internet connections means that it's much easier to take and widely spread compromising pictures of people without their knowledge.

While the women often targeted in such instances have argued their right to privacy has been violated through the secretly snapped pics, the act isn't a crime according to current laws.

According to Ask, the new bill, which was presented on Wednesday, is formulated in a way to ensure that the work of journalists wouldn't be criminalized, for example.

Rather than outlawing "unauthorized" picture taking, the new law would criminalize the taking of "insulting" ('kränkande') pictures.

However, the assessment of what constitutes and "insulting" photograph would be made by a court.

Story continues below…

The crime would be punishable by up to two years in prison, according to the new law, which Ask hopes will come into force on July 1st of this year.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:27 March 1, 2012 by stevo1
excellent, maybe the law society here could review all the laws and make changes.
11:39 March 1, 2012 by skogsbo
why does she have both parts of the toilet seat up? Most odd.
11:57 March 1, 2012 by robban70226
disturbing... ''compromising pictures'' is quite open to interpretation, guest you better be carefull at somebody drinking wine or a fat person eating a hamburger and ff, it is just opening the door for anybody to want to go after somebody else, the end of just being.. the principle is good but the definition is too open
12:21 March 1, 2012 by philster61
Another ridiculous law with the punishment far outweighing the crime.....
12:24 March 1, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
...and about time too!

I, for one, am fed up with all these people hanging around in public toilets, taking photos!
12:52 March 1, 2012 by karex

Just my thought. I don't think there's anything wrong with the concept itself. But it has to be well-written and not leave huge gaping holes for people to interpret (including the police) as they see fit. Laws like this are totally useless, and not worth the paper they're written on.


I Agree. They should take the opportunity and review/revise/update all the laws.
12:59 March 1, 2012 by RobinHood
Once the Assange case has gone away, Sweden will conduct a wholesale review of its wierd sexual offences laws. A country with the highest number of "rapes" in the EU, where rape has a definiton completely beyond the correct meaning of the word, where judges are appointed by politicians, and where it is legal to take sexually explicit pictures of someone against their will, clearly needs an urgent review.
13:20 March 1, 2012 by Abe L
Idiotic. Why does this even get attention from people who's salary is payed from tax money. Two years in jail for making pictures of which billions of similar ones can be found online? Either enacted or voluntarily?

Increase punishment for REAL crimes, such as theft of physical items, break ins, burglary, robbery, assault, rape and murder. Start working on those problems, put people who make themselves guilty of those crimes away for decades or life and start using the police force for catching them and locking them. Instead of just having them write out speeding tickets.

We're getting to a world where making pictures of people without their knowledge of downloading some music of the internet is becoming a more serious crime according to law makers and other nutjobs then things that actually harm a country's citizens.
13:28 March 1, 2012 by HYBRED
"However, the assessment of what constitutes and "insulting" photograph would be made by a court."

I think I can determine when I have been insulted. Leaving that to a judge is insulting.
13:45 March 1, 2012 by BillyB
good they are finally doing something on this..

So, the woman who started the blog about "Macho on Public Transport"

these pictures are taking without the knowledge or consent of the people photographed, and I find it insulting so presumably she will be locked up soon????
13:49 March 1, 2012 by BritVik
Irrespective of what you can find on the Internet, if it were YOU whose picture was published with all you privates on view, how would you like it?

Those who act rather like an even more underhand paparazzi with their cameras should be taken to account.
14:13 March 1, 2012 by Frobobbles
You can't have a law like this. It will never work. If I take a photo of someone, and it turns out good it is flattering, but if the light is bad the person will be at a disadvantage and I could go to jail for the insult! What then, if people have different taste?
15:09 March 1, 2012 by prince T
the people taking compromising pictures know exactly what they are doing. Police will not be required if i catch you taking my foto whether good or bad, without permission..
16:25 March 1, 2012 by Hauhr
If you ever want a law that sounds good but is actually quite ill-conceived... just Ask!
16:39 March 1, 2012 by RobinHood
Most countries have a law forbidding people from taking sexually explicit pictures of other people without their permission. Normal people eveywhere, (and even judges) have no problem differentiating between what is "insulting" or sexually explicit, and what is not. The proposed law is not at all aimed at the practise of taking non- insulting or non-sexually explicit pictures of other people without their permisson.

It seems safe to assume that several posters here have extremely unhealthy habits when it comes to photography.
20:57 March 1, 2012 by spo10
what if the person on the picture didn't find it insulting yet the judge do? so the photographer gets 2 year imprisonment anyway? this is short-sighted...
21:39 March 1, 2012 by wxman
Once all restrooms are designated "unisex", this will no longer be necessary!
09:55 March 2, 2012 by BackpackerKev
I really wish the government would change one of the other billion things wrong with Sweden than try and change something that is just totally dumb. The fact that what constitutes and "insulting" photograph would be made by a court. is just pathetic considering those same courts have not an ounce of balls or common sense when it comes to sentencing much harsher crimes

Its like Sweden actively tries to avoid adopting laws that work in many other counties making up their own while holding a crayon and listing to tellytubbies.

I'm all against dictatorship in many countries, but i honestly think someone needs to dictate to Sweden government how to bring Sweden into the 21st century and make choices that are smart. Its sometimes laughable what goes on in this country.
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