Under the Swedish Camera Monitoring Act (2013:460) (the "Act"), camera monitoring - defined as one or several cameras affixed and directed towards a publicly accessible area - requires a license from the County Administrative Board in the county where the anticipated monitoring would take place.
The Administrative Court in Malmö recently held that a UAS equipped with a camera could not be subject to the Act. Due to the limited capabilities of the UAS, in this case the limited flight time, the court concluded that the camera can only be used for a short period of time in the air. Therefore, the camera itself cannot be considered as "permanently affixed" and as a result, a UAS that is equipped with a camera is not subject to the camera license requirement.
In another recent judgment by the Administrative Court in Linköping, the court concluded that a person using a UAS equipped with a camera for the purpose of documenting buildings and surroundings does not need to apply for a camera license in order to use its UAS. According to the court, the camera cannot be considered as "permanently affixed" as required under the Act. Furthermore, the court stated that, in this case, the camera mounted on the UAS did not meet the Act's definition of being affixed as the UAS could be "on site operated".
The Swedish Data Protection Authority ("DPA") has submitted appeals against both judgments. According to the DPA the flight time of a UAS should not be the decisive factor when determining the applicability of the Act as this could lead to serious and unwanted definition and applicability issues. The DPA further states that it is not unusual that traditional surveillance cameras are operated from a nearby location, e.g. from a monitoring center or the like. Therefore, a UAS equipped with a camera should not, according to the DPA, be considered as "on site operated" and consequently, monitoring conducted with a camera mounted on a UAS should fall within the scope of the Act and require a license from the County Administrative Board in the relevant county.
Whether the DPA will be granted leave to appeal will be settled in the next couple of weeks.