State authorities have cracked down on the Mona Lisa restaurant and nightclub complex in downtown Oslo, fining it NOK 150,000 (USD 19,000) for massive surveillance and filming of its customers.
State broadcaster NRK reported on Thursday that the state data directorate Datatilsynet found no less than 19 cameras, most of them hidden, both outside and inside the complex that was the site of a shooting and brawl earlier this year.
Datatilsynet inspectors said around half of the cameras were “hidden and looked similar to alarm sensors, almost impossible to see.” Guests were filmed while they danced, ate and drank, with the cameras directed at the dance floor, tables in the complex’ various restaurants, on the street outside the complex and in a corridor leading to a toilet area.
“Hidden surveillance of this magnitude is unusual and not something we treat lightly,” Bjørn Erik Thon, director of Datatilsynet, told NRK. He called the surveillance and filming a “serious violation of fundamental privacy rights.”
The complex was initially fined NOK 75,000 but the amount was doubled when the restaurant owners refused to cooperate. “This is a large fine regardless of what kind of violation we’re talking about,” Thon told NRK.
The complex comprises the restaurants Mona Lisa, Kos Kos, La Brasserie, the sports bar Da Vinci and nightclub G10. A representative for the operators contended they are not guilty of illegal surveillance but told NRK “we now have only around 10 cameras, and they are so big that everyone can see they’re cameras. That’s legal.”
Thon was surprised to hear of the cameras still in operation and said they may prompt another inspection of the premises.