Sweden Bans Aerial Photography By Consumer Drone Operators

In the wake of various privacy and security issues the devices have presented, Sweden has stepped up drone regulation in a big way, effectively banning all consumer filming with UAV’s.

The only exception to the newly instated blanket ban from Sweden’s Supreme Administrative Court are drone camera operators with a surveillance permit. In essence this means that any Joe civilian will be completely prohibited from using their drones for filming, since such a permit will likely only be given out to certain policing agencies and security firms.

Anyone with the notion that skirting the consequences of this ruling will be possible as a member of the press or any journalism body will find themselves disappointed. Controversially, the ban makes no mention of an exemption for media organisations whatsoever.

“Strikes against an entire industry that employs thousands of employees”

As one might expect, drone pilots are furious at a law that could be perceived as rather draconian towards the practice of aerial photography. Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), the largest drone organisation in Sweden have already released a statement lambasting the ban saying, “We have set up a plan to forcibly try and get policymakers to realise how wrong this ruling [is] and [how it] strikes against an entire industry that employs thousands of employees”

The confusion surrounding the harsh nature of the ban comes from its undeniable targeted specificity. Dashcams in vehicles, for instance, will still be permitted since (due to their close proximity to the user) they are seen as being personally – rather than remotely – controlled.

Within a relatively short time, regular use of drones for capture purposes has become an ordinary part of modern life. However the increasing prevalence of UAV’s, has put some governments ill at ease. Recently a Canadian tourist was arrested in Havana, Cuba without charge for two days for using a drone in a public space. What some see as a harmless and creative hobby, others see as a threat to national security and the personal space of its citizens.