Various regional dailies, 15 Aug 2014: 'Law is flying after the drone'
“Citizens are allowed more with a drone than companies. New rules are needed. More flexible or stricter?
(...) [W]hat wants to photograph professionally with a drone in the Netherlands must first follow a basic training course, according to the Aviation Act. That costs (...) 3,000 to 4,000 euros and is only given by an English training institute. "Furthermore, you spend 2,000 euros on the registration of your aircraft." The biggest obstacle for the pros: they have to apply for a temporary exemption from the province a few weeks in advance to take off and land somewhere.
This does not work for press photographers who need to get to a fire or accident at breakneck speed.
How easy by comparison is the life of the hobbyist who can buy a toy drone at the Mediamarkt for say 100 euros. He needs no training, exemption, registration or aviation insurance. He can take to the air with his drone just like that. The hobbyist is even allowed to fly higher (300 metres) than the professional (120 metres). (...)
Commercial use of drones is almost impossible in the Netherlands, complain companies that want to make money with aerial recordings. But the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment is working on simpler rules.
These are likely to come into force on 1 July 2015. Presumably, it will soon be the case that a pilot who has obtained a licence and can demonstrate that his aircraft is safe will be granted company approval. He will then not have to apply for a waiver per recording.
For hobbyists, regulations in the Netherlands will not change for the time being. But the European Commission is not sitting still. Drones have increasing technical capabilities, are becoming cheaper and more compact. They are already in use in agriculture to spray crops more precisely or to inspect roads, railway bridges and pipelines. The police also use them, for example to track spectator streams. You can even use drones to deliver pizzas or books.
But what about the privacy of people being filmed unnoticed with a drone in their garden or on their roof terrace? Small air traffic can also be dangerous. This week, a drone crashed into a residential area in Culemborg. Police have no reports of injuries or damage yet.
Privacy First's Vincent Böhre is counting on Europe to tighten the reins. Otherwise, he fears a "jungle of flying cameras of citizens and companies over cities and in neighbourhoods".
"Now you only hear criticism from the drone industry. But they want to improve their own market position and do not think about the interests of citizens. There are already mini-drones that can fly right in through your open window."
Control by the police is non-existent, according to him, and anyone who wants to oppose it on the grounds of privacy violation must be a "legal expert", according to Böhre. "The rules are now far too general and as many as four different laws apply. The average citizen cannot make sense of that."
Take the rule that you cannot fly a drone over contiguous buildings, he says. "How do you interpret that? Is it then allowed to fly between blocks of houses or over a detached house? Or over a football pitch in a residential area? The drone comes from the military domain and is now in the toy shop, it's too crazy for words."
Source: BN/DeStem, Brabants Dagblad, De Gelderlander, De Stentor, Apeldoornse Courant, Deventer Dagblad, Dagblad Flevoland, Gelders Dagblad, Nieuw Kamper Dagblad, Sallands Dagblad, Zutphens Dagblad, Veluws Dagblad, Zwolse Courant, Twentsche Courant Tubantia, Eindhovens Dagblad, Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant, 15 August 2014.