Sweden effectively bans the usage of drones in public places

Swedish journalists and filmmakers will need a permission for recording public footage using a drone.

If you are planning on visiting Sweden with a drone in your baggage, you could potentially land in a legal soup. Sweden’s Supreme Administrative Court has effectively banned camera drone flights.

In its judgement the court has ruled that drones equipped with cameras are essentially, surveillance cameras, which means that their usage is primarily for preventing accidents and crime, which requires a permit.

Since most of us use drones for recreational purposes and not to keep a watch over our home, we’ll run out of luck using one in Sweden.

As you might expect, local drone owners aren’t sitting quietly with the UAS Sweden, an industry group, contending that by giving out this verdict the court is essentially killing Sweden’s drone market.

In fact, Aftonbladet has even pointed out that the ruling is not consistent with Sweden’s existing laws. While it is legal for Swedes to capture images in public places if it’s done by a drone it becomes illegal. Furthermore, there are no journalistic exceptions too, which makes the ruling even more odd.

Passing a judgement is one thing and enforcing it is another. Now it’s upto the county administrative boards to report any violations to the police which could be slightly funny since it could be difficult to make charges stick since there isn’t any evidence of a camera drone in flight.

The obvious question is when pronouncing this judgement, whom did the judge have in mind. It would be way too easy for the amateur drone operator to ignore this ruling. For pros, be it journalists or filmmakers, however they’d better have a good reason for recording drone footage.


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