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The new European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on May 25, 2018.  This regulation, which is directly applicable across the EU Member States, applies to the collection, hosting, storage, use and other “processing” of personal data.  The GDPR applies directly not just to companies in the EU, but also those outside of the EU to the extent that they offer goods or services (irrespective of whether a payment is required) to…

As of 1 February of 2018, new rules promulgated by the Swedish Transport Agency will apply to drones. The most significant changes are that all drones weighing less than 150 kilos will be covered by the rules. It will therefore no longer matter if the purpose of the flight is private or commercial. Drones used for special activities – military, customs, police, search and rescue, fire fighting, coast guard and accident investigation – will be exempted from the new rules. For these activities, special conditions apply instead. The license requirement for drones weighing less than 7 kilograms and flying within sight will be removed. Carl Svernlöv outlines the other changes introduced by the new regulations below.

Earlier this month, a small commercial airplane collided with an unmanned aircraft system (“UAS” or drone) during its final descent into Jean Lesage International Airport in Quebec City, Canada.  After numerous near-misses, this was the first confirmed collision between a drone and a commercial aircraft in North America.  The incident has renewed UAS safety and enforcement concerns, but also highlights opportunities and tools necessary to further improve the system. 

In the autumn of 2016, the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court ruled that a camera mounted on a drone is considered a CCTV camera for purposes of the Swedish Camera Surveillance Act (2013:460). The judgment meant that using a drone equipped with a camera, where the camera will be directed at a place to which the public has access, requires a license from the County Administrative Board. Since a license in principle is granted only for the prevention of crime, the normal commercial and recreational use of a drone equipped with a camera immediately became for practical purposes prohibited in Sweden. New legislation has now been passed to exempt the private use of drone cameras from the permit requirements, making drone use in Sweden legal again on 1 August 2017.

EASA is proposing to impose UAS standards throughout EU Member States, harmonizing rules for UAS operations and establishing a low-risk and medium-risk operational categories, Open and Specific, respectively. In addition to the operating rules, EASA is also proposing to impose requirements on manufacturers, importers, and distributors to ensure that operators can more easily comply with the proposed framework, particularly for the operation of off-the-shelf UAS that will not require approvals.  For businesses that want to go beyond the limits of the Open category operations, such as testing new UAS platforms, some form of approval will be required, but EASA is considering mechanisms that can facilitate those operations.  EASA seeks public comments by September 15th.