Swedish DPA: Incorrect use of 24/7 surveillance of firefighters

10 June 2021

The Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (IMY) has investigated the use of camera surveillance at a number of fire stations in Östra Skaraborg and notes that 24/7 surveillance of the staff is too far-reaching according to.

The Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (IMY) has received information that several fire stations in Östra Skaraborg have surveillance cameras that film spaces where firefighters change clothes in the event of an emergency, and has subsequently initiated an investigation of the camera surveillance.

The authority has now completed its investigation and notes that the camera surveillance at the fire stations has been going on in real time around the clock, despite the fact that the Rescue Service in Östra Skaraborg states that the surveillance is only needed when there is an alarm to the fire station in question.

- As the camera surveillance has covered employees who are in a dependent relationship to their employer, round-the-clock surveillance is too far-reaching, especially when the Rescue Service states that it is not necessary. In addition, the firefighters have been filmed without any delimitation when they change clothes in the event of an alarm, says Jenny Bård, lawyer at IMY's camera group.

IMY states in its decision that the Rescue Service has compelling reasons for its camera surveillance, but that it should be limited so that it is only activated in the event of an alarm and that parts of the area where the fire fighters change clothes should be masked so that only necessary information is captured in the video.

The Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection issues an administrative fine of SEK 350,000 against the Executive Board of the Rescue Service in Östra Skaraborg for violations of GDPR.

The camera surveillance has recently ceased.

For further information, please contact the Swedish DPA by email (imy@imy.se) or phone (+46-8-515 15 415).

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