Can You Record Phone Calls and Conversations in Sweden?
In Sweden, you are allowed to record conversations and phone calls provided you are an active participant, or you have obtained authorization to record.
It is against the law to record private conversations when you’re not a participant or by accessing the conversation without authorization.
This is according to Chapter 4, Section 9a of the Swedish Penal Code which states that it is illegal to use a technical device to listen or record solitary speech, conversations by others, meeting discussions, or other assemblies to which the public is not admitted, when you’re not a participant or without authorization.
Chapter 4, Section 8 of the Penal Code addresses the interception of telecommunications such as phone calls. It is illegal to unlawfully obtain access to communications being transferred through postal or an electronic communications network as this is considered a breach of postal or telecommunications secrecy
Sweden Video Recording Laws
It is illegal to photograph or record a person who is indoors in a home, toilet, dressing room or other similar areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, as this is considered intrusive photography.
However, exceptions apply if the recording is done as part of the activities of a public authority.
This is according to Chapter 4, Section 6a of the Penal Code.
Chapter 4, Section 6c addresses breach of privacy by stating it is an unlawful breach of privacy to cause serious damage to a person by disseminating (spreading):
- An image or other information about a person’s sexual life.
- An image or information about a person’s state of health.
- An image or information about a person being subjected to an offence that includes an attack on their person, liberty or peace.
- An image of a person in a vulnerable situation.
- An image of a person’s wholly or partially naked body.
It is illegal to install a device for the purpose of unlawfully recording phone calls, conversations, videos and intercepting telecommunications. Chapter 4, Section 9b.
Sweden published a new camera surveillance act exempting companies that do not perform a duty of public interest from requiring a surveillance permit.
Government agencies and other operators that perform activities of public interest such as schools, health care and public transport will still require surveillance permits. However, the act has made it easier for the Swedish Police Authority and the Swedish Security Service to use camera surveillance without a permit for a three month period for the purposes of countering crime.
It has also made it easier for the same authorities to apply surveillance permits for use in places with high crime rates and public disorder.
In terms of data protection, companies in Sweden are required to comply with the GDPR when processing data from surveillance, phone recordings and other activities.
The GDPR refers to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations established to control the processing of data owned by EU citizens by companies that have access to such data regardless of whether or not the companies are established within the EU.
To learn more about the GDPR, click here.
- Violating Swedish audio and video recording laws is punishable by a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years.
- In the case of violation of Chapter 4, Section 6c of the Penal Code, the punishment is a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years. However, if the violation is considered gross (the act caused very serious damage to the victim) the punishment increases to imprisonment for at least six months and not exceeding four years.