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Monday, October 24, 2016

Sweden Effectively Bans Drones with Cameras

From The Verge:

The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden just ruled that camera drones qualify as surveillance cameras and require a permit under Sweden's camera surveillance laws. The ruling requires owners to cough up a sizable fee in order to get their equipment off the ground, and paying to start the process is no guarantee a citizen will be granted the right to fly. County administrators will have to consider whether use of a "surveillance camera" overrides the public's right to privacy on a case-by-case basis.
. . .
The ruling targets recreational and commercial users alike, and makes zero exceptions for journalists. Sweden's leading drone company Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) said up to 3,000 people may lose their jobs as a result of the court's decision.
Engadget suggests that even if people manage to pay the application fee, most applications will be denied as surveillance cameras are only permitted to prevent crime or accidents, and most people use drones with cameras for different purposes. ABC also reports that this is the case.

This is not the most extreme instance of countrywide drone restrictions. I previously blogged about India's ban on drones -- a ban that is still in place. While the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court's ruling is limited to the use of cameras attached to drones, the ruling will likely restrict a great deal of drone use.

Normally I would not place this much faith in secondary sources reporting on a ruling, but language barriers prevent me from investigating further. I think that the opinion is here, and any readers out their who know Swedish can feel free to flag any mistakes I have made in this post.

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