back to article Swedes ban camera spy-drones for anything but crime fighting

The Swedish judiciary has ruled that camera drones are surveillance devices, meaning their pilots will have to get a seldom-issued permit to use them for private flights. The judgement from the highest court in the land looked at two cases, one against private drones and the other against a camera mounted on a bicycle. The …

Anonymous Coward

Muppets

So hyper zoom compact even on a ten foot pole and self stabilizing gimbal OK but low resolution FPV camera on a small drone in a race is is considered a threat.

Strange how sex attacks on local females from groups of migrants is considered barely news worthy but this is a real threat to society.

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Re: Muppets

Strange how sex attacks on local females from groups of migrants is considered barely news worthy but this is a real threat to society.

Well, now the daily mail style nativists are on board I doubt the Swedish state will hold out for long

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Re: Muppets

I guess all the Judiciary live in 10th floor apartments. Bit difficult to get a pole up that high yet a drone will easily snoop on the Judges and their bedroom antics.

There is a world of difference between a long zoom even on a cherry picker than a drone that can get up close and personal on the targets.

Drones are the new tool of the voyeur, PI and blackmailer. It does not discrimianate.

With drones there really is nowhere to hide from prying eyes into your private business. This might not be illegal but activities that are best kept private and strictly between the parties concerned.

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Re: Muppets

what does something being newsworthy have to do with judiciary banning camera drones?

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Re: Muppets

Are you referring to the sex attack described in the Daily Mail, to which the alleged victim responded:

“No one groped my breasts, despite what the Daily Mail claims in both headline and story. The Daily Mail has published a piece of sensationalistic writing, filled with lies"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Muppets

With drones there really is nowhere to hide from prying eyes into your private business. This might not be illegal but activities that are best kept private and strictly between the parties concerned.

They would be better off providing some official permit to shoot the damn things on sight. If you can't see it, it's not spying on you, so it would promote keeping it out of places it has no business being, but you could still fly it over landscaping and places where you've announced your intention.

And it will sell more drones. And helmets.

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Facepalm

Re: Muppets

Strange how sex attacks on local females from groups of migrants is considered barely news worthy but this is a real threat to society.

This is an IT news website, FFS.

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Re: Muppets

"If you can't see it, it's not spying on you..."

Even if it's BEHIND you?

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Re: Muppets

"Bit difficult to get a pole up that high yet a drone will easily snoop on the Judges and their bedroom antics."

And this is presumably a problem because curtains are also illegal in Sweden.

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Re: Muppets

Nurse Ratchett his meds are wearing off, swat him with his Daily Mail

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Joke

Re: Muppets

"published a piece of sensationalist writing, filled with lies"

or as the Daily Mail call it.... Journalism

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Re: Muppets

Um... what?

"Drones are the new tool of the voyeur, PI and blackmailer. It does not discrimianate."

Have you heard how loud a drone is?

If your business is private, do it behind closed doors. This unthinking paranoia that 'my privacy is being invaded' is ridiculous. No it isn't, and on the whole anything you choose to do that could be seen by a passing pedestrian shouldn't jealously be guarded as some private act. Drones don't dramatically change the limits of your privacy - except in the rare cases where you've built 40 foot high fences and live in a mansion miles from anywhere. In which case there are normal privacy rules about where cameras can legally be taken.

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Re: Muppets

"They would be better off providing some official permit to shoot the damn things on sight."

In fairness, you don't need a permit. I reckon a Nerf N-strike or even a water pistol would be enough to take one down.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Muppets

If your business is private, do it behind closed doors

No. If I have a fenced off garden and my kids are playing in it, you spying on them over the fence is a sure way to get yourself on the sex offenders register (especially if it's my fence because you will have passed various warning signs that will deny you the usual "I'm stupid and I didn't know" defence).

Let me put you straight on something: I do not have to defend why I want privacy, you have to explain why you want to breach the privacy of me and my family. Trust me, "I have a drone so I'm entitled to" doesn't cut it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Muppets

So hyper zoom compact even on a ten foot pole and self stabilizing gimbal OK but low resolution FPV camera on a small drone in a race is is considered a threat.

No, in societies that still respect privacy that would get you into trouble too. If you recall, photographing over fences is the exact thing that got Google into trouble in Japan, and rightly so.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Muppets

Since when is looking at children playing a criminal offense? I know the current trend on TV is blur out any images of children but that is just stupid. You need to campaign to have solid fences with barbs around playgrounds and schools to 'protect' the children. And mandate that blinkers are issued to everyone not you kids parents.

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Re: Muppets

This unthinking paranoia that 'my privacy is being invaded' is ridiculous. No it isn't, and on the whole anything you choose to do that could be seen by a passing pedestrian shouldn't jealously be guarded as some private act. Drones don't dramatically change the limits of your privacy

Drones were being used to scope out people's houses and flats and the footage might have been recorded. If that's not a change in the limit of privacy, what is?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Muppets

Since when is looking at children playing a criminal offence?

If they are on private property and surrounded by measures such as high fencing to protect their privacy you will face pretty serious questions if you are found to actively attempt to violate that privacy. That is in general true, but if it involves kids you will face extra problems, and rightly so.

If they're in a park or otherwise somewhere public that's a different matter, but especially where they're hidden from view you have no business finding ways to look anyway.

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Re: Muppets

"So hyper zoom compact even on a ten foot pole and self stabilizing gimbal OK but low resolution FPV camera on a small drone in a race is is considered a threat.

Strange how sex attacks on local females from groups of migrants is considered barely news worthy but this is a real threat to society."

And today's winner in The Register's How wrong do you have to be for me to log in just to downvote you? competition: this wrong.

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Re: Muppets

"Drones were being used to scope out people's houses and flats and the footage might have been recorded. If that's not a change in the limit of privacy, what is?"

So if the thieves had stood a little further back and used a zoom lens from the ground it's somehow different? The point is there are laws about breaking and entering, and scoping out properties for the same. The fact that you've used a drone doesn't change things.

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Re: Muppets

> "The fact that you've used a drone doesn't change things."

Except for the point of view. Once the camera is high up the fences become useless for privacy. So now the saying goes "Good fences used to make good neighbors". Pretty big change if you ask me.

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Re: Muppets

"If I have a fenced off garden and my kids are playing in it, you spying on them over the fence is a sure way to get yourself on the sex offenders register"

No wonder you want privacy if just glimpsing what you get up to with your children in the garden could get someone on the sex offenders' register.

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Re: Muppets

"I have a fenced off garden and my kids are playing in it"

Oh please, won't somebody think of the childruuun?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Muppets

No wonder you want privacy if just glimpsing what you get up to with your children in the garden could get someone on the sex offenders' register.

Wow, it didn't take long to drift into "what do you have to hide territory" to justify drones...

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Re: Muppets

"

Since when is looking at children playing a criminal offence?

If they are on private property and surrounded by measures such as high fencing to protect their privacy you will face pretty serious questions if you are found to actively attempt to violate that privacy.

"

Only if you did so with the deliberate intent of spying on them. If you happened to be putting up an TV aerial or doing a bit of roofing on a neighbouring property that overlooks the walled garden, you are unlikely to be questioned.

Even if you are deliberately spying on some children in their garden, that is not of itself an offence in the UK, unless it can be shown that you had a sexual purpose in so doing. If you are trying to see if they are throwing stones over their fence at your greenhouse there is no question that you have done anything wrong.

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Angel

Re: Muppets

Except if the Muppet has a Corp. LOGO sticked to his underwear.

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Re: Muppets

Oh FFS. Nobody is going to have their privacy violated by a drone that makes a noise like a hundred thousand angry wasps. They are not exactly surreptitious. It's not going to catch you in the act, when you hear the drone in the distance you can put your cock away before it even gets over your fence.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Muppets

Not sure why, but geo-domes suddenly on high demand...

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Re: Muppets

"Let me put you straight on something: I do not have to defend why I want privacy, you have to explain why you want to breach the privacy of me and my family. Trust me, "I have a drone so I'm entitled to" doesn't cut it."

I'm not asking you to defend your privacy, I'm suggesting you should be more realistic about how private an open window is, and a little less hysterical about the particular technology that is pushing those boundaries.

In this case, the law should address invasion of privacy - regardless of the technology used - rather than banning a particular technology just because it might be misused. If we applied your logic to cars or hammers we could conclude that both should be banned because they happen to be rather good at killing people. "I have a car so I'm entitled to" seems an odd way to justify the thousands of deaths on the road each year doesn't it?

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Re: Muppets

A peeping tom can be apprehended, but a peeping drone is not so easily traced to the operator. Particularly if the drone is exempt from the laws covering peeping.

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Re: Muppets

"Wow, it didn't take long to drift into "what do you have to hide territory" to justify drones..."

No, it drifted into "post a sarcastic comment about the people who think that 'what about the children'" is a valid argument, rather than an appeal to emotion which is a logical fallacy.

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Re: Muppets

"Even if you are deliberately spying on some children in their garden, that is not of itself an offence in the UK..."

Indeed, the usual moral hysteria whenever children are mentioned is a laughable meme among the British at the moment. People seem to have got the crazy idea into their heads that it's an offence to photograph a child. There are also people, probably the same ones who think it's an offence to park on the street outside their home on "their" road, who think any photography in a public place or from a public place toward a private garden is illegal.

Quick! Lock up The Google because they are violating children....

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Re: Muppets

Well nothing new there then!

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But cams on the ground are bafflingly just fine

Not baffling at all. As explained in the article, ground cameras go where the owner goes and we've got generations of experience with fences and social conventions.

Click bait worked on me then.

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Re: But cams on the ground are bafflingly just fine

It's baffling to the Reg's sub-headline writer, though he often gives the impression that he's neglected to take his dried-frog pills.

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Re: But cams on the ground are bafflingly just fine

Presumably this also applies to aerial footage from helicopters, the 'operator' is in the chopper, so it would be legal.

Otherwise I don't really understand the legal distinction between taking pictures of someone with a drone, or from a helicopter.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But cams on the ground are bafflingly just fine

Presumably this also applies to aerial footage from helicopters, the 'operator' is in the chopper, so it would be legal.

I think you need a permit for that too. OTOH, that will at least put up a barrier in the form of substantial costs. Drones allow any halfwit to violate privacy and endanger aircraft traffic near airports.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But cams on the ground are bafflingly just fine

So what would they classify a remote-controlled GROUND vehicle? It's on the ground, yet you're not near it.

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Anonymous Coward

I welcome this

I live in Sweden. Crims here have been using drones to recce flats before housebreaking. Our flat was buzzed before the break-ins, and I can say its very disturbing to have a drone hover outside your flat window, and that was before I was aware of is criminal purpose.

Definitely drone use, and camera-drone use needs some forms of regulation. Saying that its somehow the same as a camera on a helmet or dashboard is willfully stupid.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I welcome this

I'd love to see some reference to this? do you have any recordings or other sources?

Does sound like a good case for practising your fishing casting with decent line if that is true.

The trouble is that activity is probably already against the law so no new draconian laws are required that blanket ban cameras on flying craft, that just gives in to the mob mentality that does not question the veracity of stories just goes for the kill.

Be not part of the mob, unless that is the way you want society to go, as tomorrow you may be in the group who the mob unquestioningly targets due to some story.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I welcome this

No, I didn't record it. I wish I had. Actually when it happened I was stunned into a kind of useless shock. It was so bizarre I didn't really know what to do. I went outside and looked for the drone operator and saw him, and I watched him from nearby. There was something odd about it all which I picked up on at the time. The location, the drone (it was a very big one with an expensive looking camera), where the operator parked and operated the drone (from a parking spot on the road) and his rapid landing, packing and driving away when he saw he was being watched (by me).

Of course in hindsight I wished I had photographed him and his car etc, and now in future whenever I have that "spider sense" I will, but at the time I was too willing to give the person the benefit of the doubt ("Maybe he is an estate agent?").

A few days later a series of flats in our area had their security doors forced off, which is quite a feat if you have ever seen a Swedish built security door, and the flats burgled. Apparently the drone use is a 'thing' now to scout for high value contents.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I welcome this

Yes that does indeed sound odd that you watched from close by and that it was a big one with expensive looking camera that he packed away quickly and left.

I take it being close enough to evaluate the camera you were able to take his number plate and report this to the police? Such a shame you didn't have a mobile phone or you could have at least taken one picture.

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Coat

Re: I welcome this

"I take it being close enough to evaluate the camera you were able to take his number plate and report this to the police? Such a shame you didn't have a mobile phone or you could have at least taken one picture."

Or a drone could have been used to follow the car.

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Re: I welcome this

"No, I didn't record it. I wish I had. Actually when it happened I was stunned into a kind of useless shock."

That's a shame, but I understand how you could be stunned into being unable to do the right thing. I watched someone vandalise my car. When I thought about recording it using my phone, it was too late and I fumble-fingered turning the camera on. Hence the person got away.

As to drones, there's something to be said for having some polypropylene thread to throw at the drone. It will melt as the propellers spin then harden and cause the drone to crash from the sky.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I welcome this

As I say, at the time it just felt odd. Standing watching is a passive act. Taking photos of him is not, and although it was an unusual event. I didn't think to photo it. I rationalized it away at the time, assuming that someone doing something like this has some good reason to do it. I remember presuming it was an estate agent photographer.

The drone was very big, but "packing it away" was as simple as him putting it into the back of his hatchback and driving away. I wasn't near enough to talk to him, but I could see the camera and it appeared to be (at the distance) to be almost like a high quality camera (not the cheapo ones I assumed they had). This looked like a large drone you could stick a Canon EOS under.

The drone use has been reported to the police via the housing management committee who handled the break-ins (one of whose members was burgled) and it was through them I found that use of drones is a known modus operandi. Our borough has been on the receiving end of a house breaking gang which is apparently well known to the police. They are periodically jailed, but clearly not for long enough, but there are lulls in the breakins which have been running for years.

I reflected on how easy to find the time to do a breakin is. In a middle class suburban area like ours almost everyone works. From 9-5 the area is effectively empty with no crossing traffic. The shared close area in older flats is unlocked for the postman to access. You can be be almost certain of being undisturbed as you break in. Want more confidence? Leave an accomplice outside with you on quick dial. He has a practiced delaying tactic when homeowners return, while alerting you. Want to check if the flat is empty? Just ring the doorbell and shout into the letter box. And culturally Swedes are loath to interact with others. They just don't want to be involved. Most Swedes don't know their neighbours.

If you are visiting friends in Stockholm who live in flats, take a look at the door lock area - too often you will see evidence of crowbar usage. The burglaries near us were unusual in that the entire security door frame, a solid dead-bolted steel affair, built into the wall, was removed. No one is entirely sure how they did this. Our flats were built with 'soft concrete' (no longer used) which makes this possible I hear.

I am not sure how effective the Swedish police are. House breaking seems a high priority crime to me, and I wonder what will happen the day the flat is not empty. Despite living in a decent suburb, we have had a gangland shooting (one dead, multiple injured when one of those about to be executed escaped and ran into a local pizzeria - he was followed and the shooter fired randomly, hitting locals) and THREE arson attempts on residences (which I think should be treated as attempted murders). But I never get the impression anything is done about them. I know of the breakin gang, and even heard names. Ditto the arson - the community 'knows' who did them. Sweden is no longer the middle class socialist dreamscape its reputation was built on. Its becoming a country of haves and have-nots, police no go areas, housing shortages and service cutbacks. And the trusting nature of Swedes-of-a-certain-generation and the country they built makes them very vulnerable to organized criminals, who usually hail from Europe's border countries.

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Re: I welcome this

"I wonder what will happen the day the flat is not empty. "

One of the things that you can do to help yourself is to make the flat look occupied when you are not there. If you want to go über cautious and über techno you can use home automation and a controller to activate lights around the flat to a pattern. If you want to do it on the cheap some Ikea mains timers and lamps can be used to make a pattern of arriving from work, entering and leaving rooms and heading to the bedroom. You can also use "TV simulators" to give the impression that you are watching TV in the living room or bedroom, these switch on when the light level falls and will activate patterns of LEDs that recreate the flicker and colour changes of a TV screen. A radio on a time tuned to a speech channel can be used to convince a listener that there are conversations taking place in the flat.

Net curtains can be used to prevent prying cameras from seeing into rooms. This doesn't work at night when the room is brightly lit but shining a strong light onto net curtains can be used to dazzle a camera at night time.

The aim is to make a thief doubt whether the flat is occupied or not so that they will play safe and attack someone else instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I welcome this

" Actually when it happened I was stunned into a kind of useless shock. It was so bizarre I didn't really know what to do."

I know exactly what you mean.

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Re: I welcome this

"organized criminals, who usually hail from Europe's border countries"

Sounds like something the daily fail might have penned.

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Childcatcher

Re: I welcome this

"...Be not part of the mob,.."

Are you saying that this is just REACTIVE regulation? And not a fully documented, well pondered and agreed legislative frame? How you dare? ;-)

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Happy

Oh the possibilities...

The only question now is whether or not Swedish police will have the means – or the inclination – to try to prosecute drone fliers. It could well be they have neither.

I read the above and immediately saw (in my mind's eye, that is) a squadron of drones with flashing blue LEDs and little sirens chasing illegal camera - equipped drones.

Failure to stop? Then "Tactical Contact" or "TPAC" as appropriate. Or a net strung between 2 of them.

Give the Swedish Police the means and they will immediately find the inclination.

I mean...who wouldn't?

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