Sweden: Court rejects appeal for wider camera surveillance by public authority
On July 7, 2023, the Supreme Administrative Court (the Court) published its decision in Case No. 5515-21, as issued on February 6, 2023, in which it rejected the appeal of the Uppsala Municipality to carry out surveillance under the Camera Surveillance Act, following an appeal by the Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (IMY).
Background to the case
In particular, the case outlines that a permit is required for an authority to use camera surveillance at a location to which the public has access. Uppsala Municipality was granted a permit for camera surveillance by the IMY between 20:00 and 06:00 every day in a square in Uppsala for the purpose of preventing and investigating crimes, preventing or discovering disturbances of public order and safety, and increasing public security. However, the Uppsala Municipality successfully appealed the decision to the Stockholm Administrative Court and was granted a permit for surveillance between 15:00 and 06:00 every day.
Findings of the Court
Notably, the Court recognized that the location was designated as crime-prone and that such a factor should be taken into account when assessing whether a permit for surveillance should be granted. However, the Court outlined that the surveillance camera processing in question, of a public square, will process a large amount of data of persons not relevant to the purpose of surveillance. Accordingly, the Court held that it was correct for the IMY to only grant permission for surveillance between 20:00 and 06:00.
Ultimately, the Court rejected the appeal of the Uppsala Municipality, holding that the original hours of surveillance granted must apply.
You can read the decision here.