Sweden Bans Unlicensed Usage of Camera Drones

Drones have been a topic of substantial debate in recent months. Some people, and government officials as well, feel that these camera-equipped flying devices can be a threat. In Sweden the usage of camera drones without a special permit has been officially banned, making it the first country to take such drastic measures.

The End of Unregulated Camera Drones in Sweden

Ever since people figured out that camera drones could take pictures and videos, there have been two camps. On the one side, some hobbyists want to take great pictures of nature and their surroundings, or even use the devices to record video from several dozen feet up in the air–not that there is anything wrong with that, but what if you’d accidentally recorded a stranger’s face in the process?

This is where the other group of people comes into the picture,  privacy advocates who are concerned about these video drones. While the chances of someone capturing footage for nefarious purposes seems relatively small, knowing that anyone in the world could have an eye in the sky and tracking your movements is quite scary.

The Swedish government has taken these concerns to heart and has issued a new ruling. Video drone operators need to obtain a specific license, which varies in price. The cheapest license sets users back 1,200 euros per annum, and some of the most professional licenses cost as much as 36,000 EUR per hour.

Although Sweden is quickly becoming a hotbed for drone activity, this new ruling shows that government officials are not taking this trend seriously. There are a lot of people who use these drones as part of their daily jobs, and these expensive licenses are an unwelcome cost. In fact, this decision could ax as much as 5,000 drone-related jobs in the country.

While it is true that video drones pose a systemic risk to consumer privacy, it is difficult to walk a fine line between regulation and leaving things as they are. What Sweden has done seems a bit invasive, as it is virtually destroying the video drone business in the country. Since the technology is still relatively new, it is not being used in a high-paying commercial setting just yet.

At the present time local drone pilots are not too amused by this decision. There is not much that they can do about it, however, other than pay the license fees. The bigger question is whether or not this will make video drone services more expensive in Sweden, as these licensing costs will be recuperated by making clients pay higher prices.

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