Sweden last week banned the use of camera drones without a special permit, infuriating hobby flyers and an industry group but likely pleasing privacy campaigners.
Drone pilots will now have to show that there’s a legitimate benefit that outweighs the public’s right to privacy – and there are no exemptions for journalists, nor any guarantee that a license will be granted.
The cost of a license depends on variables such as the takeoff weight of the drone and whether it’s going to be flown further than the pilot can see, and none of the licenses are cheap. Costs range from an annual license fee of €1,200 right up to a maximum hourly fee of €36,000.
Sweden’s move is in marked contrast to many other parts of the world. In the US, for example, police are considering rigging drones with stun guns to taser crime suspects, while elsewhere in the US, there has been concern about drones equipped with a home-made flamethrower or a handgun. And of course, there’s always the threat of having drones spy on you.