Ryanair accused of illegal surveillance

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Low-fare Irish airline Ryanair has run into more trouble with Norwegian authorities. Norway’s state agency in charge of privacy issues has now charged Ryanair with illegally setting up surveillance cameras in a building used by employees at the Rygge Airport in Moss, south of Oslo.

Ryanair has landed in trouble in Norway. PHOTO: Moss Lufthavn Rygge

Ryanair has landed in more trouble in Norway. PHOTO: Moss Lufthavn Rygge

The building, adjacent to the airport terminal, is where employees collect shift information, eat meals and store money from sales on board flights. Norwegian authorities believe the cameras violate the employees’ rights to privacy.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported on its nightly national newscast Dagsrevyen Tuesday that the cameras were installed without warning earlier this year and agents from Datatilsynet (The Norwegian Data Protection Authority) were tipped off about them. They then made an unannounced visit and have charged Ryanair with failing to apply for permission to conduct employee surveillance, for filming more than was necessary to hinder theft of on-board sales proceeds, and for storing the film too long.

Ryanair officials reportedly have countered that the surveillance cameras were necessary to prevent theft from the safe inside the building where the sales proceeds are stored. Datatilsynet responded that’s no reason to film the entire interior of the building.

“They have set up several cameras,” Bjørn Erik Thon, director of Datatilsynet, told NRK. “The rules are that you never shall film more than is strictly necessary for what you need to secure.” Thon argued that Ryanair “doesn’t need to film its employees while they’re eating,”

‘Irish territory’
Dublin-based Ryanair also reportedly told Datatilsynet that the building was subject to Irish law, not Norwegian law, an argument used by the airline in defending why it won’t honour Norwegian labour law as applying to its cabin crews on its Irish-registered aircraft. Thon rejected Ryanair’s attempt to also apply Irish law to a building at the Rygge Airport in Moss.

“It’s a location that is in Norway, it is leased through a contract with an airport in Norway,” Thon said, arguing that it thus is subject to Norwegian law. He noted that many of Ryanair’s employees using the building also live in Norway.

Airport officials declined to comment even though the airport owns the building. Ryanair officials, who have run into earlier trouble with Norwegian authorities and labour unions, declined comment until they had formally replied to Datatilsynet’s charges.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund