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Swedish Schools Opt for Increased Surveillance

Sweeping Wave of Surveillance: Swedish Schools Crave Increased Camera Security


Swedish schools are installing surveillance cameras, raising concerns about privacy and learning. The cameras could chill free speech, target students, and make them feel less safe.The benefits of surveillance must be weighed against the risks to privacy and well-being.Statistics from the Swedish Data Protection Authority manifest this urgency, as reported by Radio Ekot.

Numbers Tell the Tale

As we progress in 2022, nearly 150 schools have already appealed for surveillance cameras – a substantial escalation from the measly 80 applications received by the Privacy Protection Authority (IMY) the previous year. Among the applicants is Färjestaden’s school on Öland which requested a total of five cameras, majorly aimed at overseeing the chaos in the school yard.

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Weighing Safety against Vandalism

Ulrika Reje, the principal of Färjestaden’s school, articulates the grim scenario that led to their decision. “Last summer and autumn we had a lot of vandalism and, most grievously, a lot of arson. If they were to burn down this sizable school, it would be a disaster,” warns Reje. This echoes a collective concern – balancing the rights of students with ensuring a conducive environment free from threats.

Nudging Towards Orwellian Surveillance?

A notable point of acceleration in this camera-installation spree is the recent decision by the Stockholm school property company (SISAB). They made an unprecedented move to overhaul their outdated system with thermal cameras, aiming for improved monitoring across approximately 60 schools. This technological advancement magnifies the already glaring spotlight on the use of surveillance in academic institutions, raising questions about the purpose and potential misuse of these tools.

Security cameras: Privacy vs. security

The rise of surveillance cameras in Swedish schools is a response to vandalism and risks. Consider location, purpose, and data retention policies.

The decision of whether or not to use cameras is complex and should be made after careful consideration. Only time will tell how this impacts the ethos of Swedish society and how, as expats, we navigate these uncharted grounds.

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