Sweden Eyes Outlawing Using Smartphones to Take “Insulting” Pictures

“Modern-day Peeping Toms snapping photographs of women in various states of undress in department store fitting rooms, public toilets, or showers” are creating trouble in Sweden.  Wendy Zeldin reports on this problem in Sweden:  Proposal to Outlaw Use of Smartphones to Take Compromising Pictures.  What we think of as voyeurism in the U.S. is apparently not unlawful in Sweden.

The Swedish government has been working to address the problem of privacy violations caused by secret picture taking since 2008.  The current proposal is an attempt to protect privacy interests, while also protecting the freedom of expression and legitimate photography, such as for news reporting.  What exactly is legitimate photography for news reporting in the Peeping Tom context?  The draft law focuses on “insulting picture-taking,” making that a crime, but does not ban taking “unauthorized” pictures.  The draft law leaves it to the courts to determine what an “insulting” photograph is.  Although the widespread use of smartphones makes secret picture taking easier, it appears that the concern involves all “insulting picture-taking,” not just pictures taken with smart phones.

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