Friday’s ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court meant drones fitted with cameras are deemed surveillance equipment and require a licence in order to try to protect privacy.
Jörgen Olsson, head of Missing People’s Stockholm team, told Radio Sweden his organisation used drones to help search for people who might have gone missing in difficult terrain.
“Instead of forbidding video filming and taking photos of people that are not willing…instead they actually forbid the tools,” he said.
He said the permits now required would be difficult for Missing People to obtain because they never know in advance when and where they would need to use the drones.
I would say this could be the difference between finding a missing person alive or not,” Olsson said.
Others have also criticised the change to the law, saying it is too restrictive.
They include Mattias Nyström, who is a researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
He told Swedish Radio that camera drones had been important in the forestry industry and in conservation and that the decision was a “disaster” for the research industry.
The Associated Press reported that the European Aviation Safety Agency recently released a rough, non-binding text for drone regulation, leaving it up to each EU member state to decide whether to require licences for drones with cameras.