Sweden camera drone ban forces operators to get a permit

Sweden just made it really, really hard to fly a camera drone in public places, doing so to protect privacy more so than one's passion for aerial photography and hobbyist flights. Camera drones aren't outright banned in the country, as residents will still be able to apply and pay for a permit. The problem is, the permits are not guaranteed, and can be denied if the government finds cause — namely, the possible invasion of privacy.

It's important to note that the ban doesn't apply to all drones, only those with an attached or built-in camera. Likewise, it seems that camera drones can be used without permits in places where they're not at risk of recording the public — the top of a mountain, maybe, or the Swedish countryside.

The reason boils down to surveillance concerns, a reason enabling the government to dismiss criticism and notable points about how dash and bicycle cameras can be used without a permit. As far as Sweden's government is concerned, dash cams aren't surveillance devices because they follow the driver and have a limited scope. Drone cameras, though, can go just about anywhere and record people in all kinds of scenarios.

It isn't clear how much this permit costs, nor whether it will be refunded if the government rejects the application. The move appears to be the first of its kind — while privacy concerns regarding camera drones have been aired far and wide, Sweden appears to be the first country to greatly limit their usage in an effort to preserve that privacy.