Skip to content

Video surveillance

As a private citizen you might want to use video surveillance on your property or close to your home or vehicle. Using video surveillance as a private citizen does not require a permit.

In general, it is not allowed to use video surveillance outside of your own home or property. If you use video surveillance to monitor areas outside of your own home or property you might need to comply with the rules of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Swedish Camera Surveillance Act. 

What entails processing of personal data? 

The term personal data entails many things. It is all sorts of information that directly or indirectly can identify a living person. 
Two examples are: 

  • A picture where a person can be identified.
  • A picture of the number plate of a vehicle owned by a private citizen. 

Processing of personal data can be collecting, storing, sharing, or in other ways using data. When a camera films an identifiable person or any other personal data, that is a form or processing of personal data. If you process personal data using video surveillance you must, in general, comply with GDPR. GDPR is a regulation with the purpose of protecting the privacy of individuals and give them more control over their personal data. 

What does the private exemption mean? 

There is an exemption to when the rules of GDPR apply. This so-called private exemption means that when private citizens process personal data through e.g. video surveillance the GDPR does not apply. If you are using video surveillance strictly in your capacity as a private citizen or in connection to your household, the private exemption applies. In many situations it can be difficult to know when the private exemption applies, and to be sure you need to carefully assess your video surveillance. 

What does it entail being the controller of personal data?

If GDPR applies to your video surveillance, e.g. because you are monitoring an area outside of your property where people or vehicles pass by, there are many things you must keep in mind. 

If you have a specific purpose to use video surveillance – e.g. preventing and investigating crime - this means that you are the controller of the personal data that your camera processes and that you are responsible for complying with GDPR. 

Data controllers and data processors 

Inform of video surveillance

Video surveillance is a sensitive form of processing personal data that often entails large amounts of information being collected and stored. Video surveillance may entail a breach of privacy, and the breach is often greater if it is a large amount of information, and the more information that is shared. It is of great importance that material collected from video surveillance is handled responsibly.

Everyone is entitled to their privacy, not only in relation to public authorities and organisations, but also in relation to other private citizens. IMY’s task is to work towards protecting your personal data so that it is handled correct and don’t fall into the wrong hands. If you suspect that any unlawful video surveillance is taking place you can file a complaint to IMY. 

Many of the complaints of unlawful video surveillance is regarding the placing of video cameras in a way that makes neighbours feel monitored. To be placed under video surveillance in close proximity to your home is a significant breach of privacy. It can be conceived as very unpleasant and give rise to unnecessary conflict. It is not allowed to use video surveillance to monitor your neighbours against their will. Before filing a complaint to IMY read IMY’s information on neighbours’ video surveillance. 

Please note that this information in English on video surveillance for individuals is not complete. For more detailed information, please visit our Swedish pages.



About the information on this page

If the information in English is different from the Swedish version of this page, the Swedish version applies.

Latest update: 8 June 2023
Page labels Camera surveillance