The Swedish government announced a proposal last week to exempt civilian drones from a previous decision which severely limited the use of camera drones.
Camera Drones and Surveillance Cameras
The Swedish Supreme Administrative Court decided last fall to include photos taken by drones in the same category as surveillance cameras. Surveillance cameras are heavily regulated in Sweden, so the decision meant that all drone operators required a special permit to fly. To receive the permit, the operator must prove that images captured would only be used “to prevent theft or crime.” There was no provision in the decision for commercial or journalistic applications.
A New Proposal
On Friday, Swedish Minister for Justice and Migration Morgan Johansson issued a statement proposing legislation to exempt civilian drones from the decision. The statement said that as an individual’s privacy was already protected by the country’s “Data Collection Act,” the decision would not apply to drones used for legitimate purposes. Johansson said that the proposal would help to solve business problems.
Critics of the original decision said that the law severely curtailed the drone industry: industry group UAS Sweden estimated that the law would cost the industry over 3,000 jobs. Local drone businesses complained that municipalities refused to issue permits for standard missions like real estate photography. Large projects including the roofing inspections by a Swedish Housing Association group were halted until permits could be obtained. Search and rescue groups feared that their operations would not be able to make use of important drone technology.
The new proposal should solve many of these problems for the drone industry.