Sweden bans camera drones
Sweden bans the use of camera drones Getty Images

The use of camera drones has been declared illegal in Sweden as they qualify as surveillance cameras. The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden ruled camera drones require a permit under camera surveillance laws.

Getting permits could be quite expensive as those who wish to fly camera drones in a public place will have to pay a hefty amount to apply for a permit. Besides, there is no guarantee that the permit would be granted even after applying for one.

While some are calling it a "huge blow" to the aerial photography and camera drone industry, the country's highest court ruled drone-mounted cameras are "regarded as surveillance cameras".

The Unmanned Aerial System Sweden (UAS) said the court ruling could put about 5,000 jobs at risk. "It is a bad decision for Sweden as an entrepreneur country and ominous for the Swedish labour market that is constantly affected by new obscure and complicated regulations from the state and its agencies," Gustav Gerdes, president of UAS, told the BBC.

Last year a lower district court ruled that drones did not constitute camera surveillance. But the decision has now been overruled. In Sweden more than 20,000 drones were sold in 2014 and over 1,000 permits have been issued by the government for using camera drones for commercial purposes, states photography website PetaPixel.

In the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority has issued a set of guidelines for those flying drones. The guidelines suggest one should not fly drones higher than 400ft and always keep the drones away from aircraft, helicopters and airfields. One can be prosecuted if one does not fly drones safely.

It also states that the drones fitted with cameras must not be flown within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or structures and not over congested areas or large gatherings such as concerts and sports events.