Irrational ban of camera drones exclusively affecting Swedish companies

By: Thomas Ström 11/1/16

It has happened again.
Sweden has over-interpreted laws and regulations, leaving solely Swedish companies affected. This time it's about the ban of camera drones in Sweden.
This week, DI Digital revealed a loophole in the new law, which the Swedish Data Protection Authority has confirmed; the ban applies only to companies based in Sweden. For drone companies in other EU countries, however, it is still OK to use a camera drone in Sweden.

In my opinion, the drones equal enormous benefits for society. Just think of the savings made in areas such as inspecting our overhead wires.
This was previously executed by helicopters, with the cost of 6 000-8 000 SEK per hour, whilst a drone costs a few hundred SEK an hour. The same applies to a large number of other areas, for example when checking the forest areas in connection with forest fires.

However, the Swedish Data Protection Authority wants drone observations to stop. Last Friday, the Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden decided that the so-called surveillance law should govern Swedish drone companies. In short, it means that the companies need the same permits as when installing surveillance cameras to take photos in public places – all this in order not to risk any integrity violations.
According to the trade organization UAS Sweden, the decision affects an industry with a turnover of billions of SEK and employing thousands of people.

I believe this is a completely insane decision.

But it doesn’t stop there! 
It has been disclosed that the decision does not apply to all companies using camera drones in Sweden. 
"If there are cameras used here in Sweden, for example by drones, and if the company conducting the monitoring is established in Sweden, the surveillance law is applicable. But if anyone established in another EU country conducts the monitoring, the rules of that country should be applied", says the unit manager at Swedish Data Protection Authority, Nicklas Hjertonsson, to DI Digital. 

This loophole is a consequence of the surveillance law based on a EU directive, which all member states are required to adhere to a certain level. But after that, it is up to each country to decide on how far they want to take their own laws.

Once again, Sweden wants to be the top of the class, which clearly affects the Swedish business sector negatively.
No wonder you sometimes question who is making the decisions in this country… Maybe it’s relics from an ancient time, who have not kept up with the development of society at all? 
Regardless, this decision needs to be changed. Immediately!