File photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
When the 22-year-old woman saw a drone hovering outside of her balcony on Wednesday, she became suspicious that it was being used to photograph her in a state of undress, Sydsvenskan reported.
The woman confronted a male neighbour who denied that he had used the drone to take photos or video of her. Not believing his denial, she reported him to the police.
According to police, however, the case is likely to be dropped as it does not constitute abusive photography.
Mårten Schultz, a professor of civil law at Stockholm University, said that the described incident did not seem to violate any laws.
“In general, you can film and photograph. It is part of our strong tradition of the freedom of information,” he said.
Physical proximity plays an important role in determining what constitutes abusive photography, he said.
“If, for example, I put my mobile phone right up in your face and record, that may be considered abusive. You can’t be too close to the physical body,” Schultz said.
Sweden’s laws do prohibit taking photos of people in private situations including in their bedrooms, bathrooms and public dressing rooms.
Although the drone-flying neighbour may be in the clear in this instance, if he really did take photos or video of the sunbathing women he could then face charges if he were to share those images without her consent, Schultz added.
As drones began gaining in popularity in recent years, Sweden initially treated any drone with a mounted camera as a surveillance unit under the country’s Video Surveillance Act and required that drone pilots obtain a permit from their local county administrative board. That requirement was dropped in February.