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Privacy Act & Drones

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 04:05 PM

This matter is equally as important to discuss in New Zealand as it is in Australia & worldwide.

17 July 2014, 2.11pm AEST
Drones finally get MPs talking tougher on privacy laws


The increasing use of drone aircraft in Australia may finally lead to a long overdue change in privacy laws to protect against the use of remote eyes and ears in invasive technologies.

The call for tougher legislation comes in the report Eyes in the Sky: Inquiry into drones and the regulation of air safety and privacy, released this week from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs.
A drone by any other name

Drones are miniature helicopters (with very sophisticated cameras mounted on them) that go by a number of other names: “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAVs), “unmanned aircraft systems” (UASs), and “remotely piloted aircraft” (RPAs) which is my preference.

I have written before on my thoughts and concerns over this new surveillance tool that is taking to Australian skies on a daily basis.

So it is very pleasing to see that the Federal Parliament has recently applied its mind to the phenomenon.

Who is at the controls? Flickr/Christopher Michel , CC BY

Interesting to note that the Committee, chaired by Nationals backbencher George Christensen, comments upon the unfortunate nature of the term “drone”.

Industry groups expressed a desire to avoid the term ‘drone’, as a result of perceived negative connotations arising from an association with the United States military’s program of ‘targeted assassinations’.

Despite sharing my preference to use “remotely piloted aircraft”, the report continues to use “drones” liberally (even in the title of the report!).
The use of drones

The Committee provides an excellent snapshot of the current and potential uses and abuses of these clever little inventions, and makes a series of well-considered recommendations regarding the policy imperatives arising from them.

It highlights the benefits of using RPAs for agricultural and mining surveying, aerial photography, bushfire spotting, beach patrolling, sports webcam deployment, and search and rescue assistance, to name a few.

But RPAs give rise to some concern for public safety, especially given the possibility of one of them straying into airspace and colliding with other aircraft, or crashing to earth.


Back to privacy

Moreover there are privacy concerns. How many of us would want our neighbours deploying an RPA over our backyard while we are sunbaking or even just attending to the family barbecue?

How many would like to see the team from our local newspaper or television station trying to get closer to a family during a moment of private grieving?

In my earlier discussion of RPAs, I isolated a number of key areas that needed policy attention: collected images and other data would be stored and whether RPA targets would have access to these images to hold RPA operators to account for any excesses in the manner in which images are gathered to provide a remedy should people wish to pursue legal action in the event of an RPA practice that has offended their sensibilities to define the role of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) as a preferred regulatory authority.

The Committee has addressed all of these concerns, although it did this primarily by referring specific questions and issues to other bodies (such as CASA and the Australian Privacy Commissioner) best equipped to deal with them.

But I’ve said before that parliaments are the most appropriate bodies to legislate the extent to which individuals can be subjected to (or protected from) surveillance from a camera mounted on a miniature helicopter.

Tougher privacy laws needed

The Committee also recommends that the Australian Government consider, by July 2015, introducing legislation which provides protections against any privacy invasive technologies.

New laws needed to protect against invasion.
Flickr/Richard Thorek , CC BY-NC-SA

This would include consideration of a new tort of “serious invasion of privacy”, a remedy that is well established in New Zealand and the United Kingdom and in a number of US states.

Australian governments, in contrast, and under pressure from our media moguls, have been pussy-footing around this area for many years, notwithstanding repeated calls from law reform bodies to enact such a tort.

Some High Court judges have previously given strong indication that they do not see it as their role to be the harbingers of any such change. It must come from parliament, they said in the ABC v Lenah Game Meats case more than a decade ago.

The Christensen Committee has taken up the cudgel in pursuit of this specific challenge in Recommendation 3 when it asks the Federal Government to consider:

[…] the creation of a tort of serious invasion of privacy, or include alternate measures to achieve similar outcomes, with respect to invasive technologies including remotely piloted aircraft.

Further limits on eyes (and ears) in the sky

Another strong and timely recommendation concerns the harmonisation of the current dog’s breakfast of surveillance and listening devices legislation found at the Commonwealth level and in our various states and territories.

The antiquated legislation in Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT, for example, makes no reference to cameras at all, let alone cameras buzzing above our heads.

The Committee asks the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to put in some hard yards here, especially around harmonisation of the rules relating to the use of RPAs by law enforcement officials in the tracking and pursuit of those suspected of having committed criminal offences.

The Committee has done us a great service by setting out the parameters that we need to consider in order to balance the advantages and disadvantages of this amazing new apparatus. We now await the fate of their timely recommendations.

#2 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 05:24 PM

Focus: Are drones the next tool for private investigators?

Monday, 21 July 2014 08:00 | Written By Arshy Mann | Print |


When Inc. chief executive officer Jeff Bezos dramatically predicted on 60 Minutes that within a few years drones would be zigzagging across cities delivering packages, many people took notice.

Canadian regulations remain a significant barrier to more widespread use of drones.
Photo: Robert Martel/Shutterstock

Up until that point, most people only associated drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, with the U.S. military.

But unmanned aerial vehicles have a number of domestic uses and are already revolutionizing many industries, including filmmaking and agriculture. Private investigation may be next.

However, a number of issues, including regulatory delays, privacy concerns, and the lack of clear guidance from the courts, mean most private investigators remain leery of using drones, at least for the moment.

Soon after the Bezos announcement, Denis Gagnon, president of BCS Investigations, a private investigation firm based in Vancouver, began talking to a professor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology who was working on unmanned aerial vehicles.

“One of the professors there was developing a prototype, and I was going to use it,” says Gagnon.

But Gagnon soon discovered that regulations around the private use of drones remain onerous in Canada.

You need to be licensed with Transport Canada, which I didn’t know at this time,” he says.

According to an article by Sarah Fitzpatrick and Kenneth Burnett, lawyers with Miller Thomson LLP, Canada has had a regulatory framework for commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles in place since 1996.

People flying a drone must have a special flight operations certificate from Transport Canada and must apply for it at least 20 days in advance. However, drones must remain within eyeshot of the user and each and every flight has to have an accompanying certificate.

Gagnon says that unless these requirements change, drones won’t make an effective tool for private investigators. “I can’t see myself applying for a permit every time I’m going to run a drone. That would be just impossible,” he says. “We need to be able to adapt to each situation very quickly when we’re working surveillance.”

However, if Transport Canada were to make the regulations less burdensome, Gagnon sees a large array of potential uses for unmanned aerial vehicles.

“It would be a fantastic tool,” he says. “A lot of the surveillance that we conduct is in remote areas like a farm or a rural property. You can’t sit there working surveillance because it’s too obvious.”

One of the biggest advantages drones could provide is getting visual evidence a party could present in a court case.

Gagnon gives the example of an internal theft issue where employees are stealing goods from a shipyard. “We would be able to run a drone and be able to observe what’s going on in the shipyards, which you can’t really drive in right now,” he says.

“But the nice thing is we could drop in close enough and zoom in on the labelling on the container.”

The drone would then be able to covertly follow the container wherever it went all the while sending a live video feed to a private investigator’s computer.

Gagnon says that while private investigators have a number of sophisticated technological tools at their disposal, most of them require operators to be carrying them on their person. That makes drones especially valuable.

As with many new technologies, however, privacy issues are inevitably going to become a concern. For instance, if someone is using a drone to follow a target in a car with someone else in it, would the investigator be able to record that person as well?

Peter Grace, president of Titan Investigations Inc., a private investigation firm based in Whitby, Ont., says he hasn’t heard of any investigators using drones.

But Grace suspects privacy issues may end up smothering their usefulness. He points to closed-circuit TV cameras some private investigators used to use on surveillance targets. New rules, however, required them to blur the faces of any third parties caught in the images, making it onerous for them to use the technology.

“I don’t know of anybody that still uses those,” says Grace.

Gagnon, who says he also doesn’t know of any private investigators currently using drones, worries that if they begin prematurely trying them out or if Transport Canada gets the regulations wrong, there could be a public backlash against using them.

In addition, he worries drones could make it more difficult to do his job if they got into the wrong hands. “I don’t want the criminals to be able to watch me when I’m working surveillance,” he says. “So counter-surveillance and espionage are going to be problems.”

Gagnon is hopeful private investigators will be able to get an exemption from Transport Canada for their work. But he sees legal action as inevitable.

“We’re going to have a legal battle because the lawyers aren’t going to like having that tool in our arsenal. They already don’t like a lot of the tools we use already, never mind one more tool.”

Gagnon is optimistic about the potential uses of drones but is taking a wait-and-see approach.

“It’s a very new tool and when you have a very new tool, you have no case law, no precedents, and I sure don’t want to be the first precedent,” he says.

“Drones are still, excuse the pun, up in the air at this point.”

+1 # Alpha 1 2014-07-22 07:22
We think that the use of drones in the PI field is just going to increase. It is unrealistic to think that this piece of 21st century technology will not be utilised to good 'legal' effect by private investigators.

#3 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 01:14 PM

17 November 2014 Last updated at 21:35
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Unmanned drones 'being used to harass people', police say

By Tom Moseley BBC News

Unmanned drones are "undoubtedly" being used to harass people, police say.

A House of Lords committee was told the devices were also being flown in protected airspace and that officers found it difficult to identify the people responsible.

The warning came from Ch Insp Nick Aldworth, of the Metropolitan Police, who is part of a nationwide group tasked with looking at the issue.

Civilian use of the aircraft, which can be legally flown, is increasing.

Drones, which are officially known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, range in size from small craft operated by enthusiasts, TV companies, police forces and surveyors and weighing a few kilograms, to larger military versions.

Smaller ones can be flown without special permission although restrictions apply if they are used in congested areas or near people's homes.

'Nefarious reasons'

The Lords Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment Committee has been holding an inquiry into their use by civilians.

Ch Insp Aldworth said the devices, which he described as "things that fly and do not have pilots in them", could be used in a "reckless" or "malicious" way.

Baroness O'Cathain, the committee chairwoman, said a number of concerns about privacy had been raised, but Ch Insp Aldworth said this was not a police matter as there was no criminal privacy law.

However, he said other legislation could be used, for example laws banning voyeurism, in the event of drones with cameras "hovering outside people's bedrooms for whatever nefarious reasons".

Footage posted posted on the internet was the most common way of drone use coming to light, he said, and the peers were told of the difficulties of finding the people responsible.

Chief Inspector Nick Aldworth, Chief Inspector Operations, Metropolitan Police. Ch Insp Nick Aldworth said it was hard catching people who fly drones irresponsibly

If a drone "whizzes past your window and catches something that you would rather it didn't catch", he said, it was difficult to catch the person flying it unless the police arrived immediately.

Ch Insp Aldworth said his group's task was to find a "sensible application" of existing laws to control the use of the drones.

He said there was no doubt drones had been used in London and around the UK, pointing to footage posted of football stadiums which he said was a contravention of air navigation rules as well as being a potential safety risk if a device fell from the sky.

Criminal conduct

"We also know it has been used to embarrass people - either VIPs or members of the public," he said.

Ch Insp Aldworth said a drone had been flown as a protest in front of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and that he expected "copycat behaviour" in the UK.

He added: "The concerns are really around the fact that we are seeing this technology being used for criminal conduct.

"We have undoubtedly seen it flown in controlled airspace, we have undoubtedly seen it used to harass people, and we have seen it flown in contravention of the air navigation orders, so I think that concern arises by the fact that there is clearly a means of offending that we do not seem to be able necessarily to address quickly."

With Christmas approaching, and prices expected to drop, use of the drones could increase, he added.

Last month, pilots' association Balpa told the committee remote aircraft the same size as small passenger planes could be operated commercially in the UK within 10 years, and called for strict controls over their use.

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#4 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 01:30 PM

G-string in the backyard pic just the beginning: Drone privacy and security a big problem

November 17, 2014 1:39PM

DRONES are getting cheaper which means more people are buying them. And while most owners use them to create awesome videos, other people’s intentions aren’t so innocent.

As the Herald Sun reported this morning, Melbourne woman Mandy Lingard, a mother of three and grandmother of one, was photographed sunbathing in her backyard in a G-string by a real estate drone without her knowledge. The image was then used on an advertisement for a house for sale nearby, placed on the internet and in a real estate magazine.

This is certainly not the first privacy breach by a drone in Australia. Earlier this year a man was caught flying over a Gold Coast beach filming people sunbaking below.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which estimates tens of thousands of drones are being flown by recreational users, stipulates that drones are not to be flown around populous areas such as beaches or people’s backyards. You also can’t take pictures without people’s permission

Despite the warnings, numerous cases have been reported to authorities, but with minimal prosecutions.

Trevor Long, a drone user and tech expert from Sydney said that there is physically nothing stopping him or anyone flying a drone in any location.

“Once you see and use a drone you realise that they are very noisy, so it would be hard for anyone to spy without getting noticed,” he told

But when it comes to actually breaking the law Mr Long believes, “it’s basically a moral thing right now, and if you are flying over places you don’t know, there’s a chance the homeowners will call the police.”

Currently Australian regulation requires that drone users not fly higher than 120 metres and must be kept in sight at all times. But many YouTube videos show drone users flying well above 120 metres, with one almost colliding with a helicopter in Newcastle flying at around 300 metres. Such a collision could have brought the helicopter down. Other more extreme concerns revolve around using a drone as a weapon.

Current Australian law is over a decade old, however recommendations for the national privacy law to expand and cover new technology such as drones were made in July. The report called upon the federal government to look at introducing legislation by July next year that would protect against privacy-invading technology such as drones but until then drones are a law unto themselves.

#5 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 05:53 PM

Tomorrow's Lives | 18 March 2015
The private investigator who spies using drones
Rose Eveleth

Aerial vehicles are the latest tool for private detectives – but for how long? Rose Eveleth reports.

Chris Wright is a problem solver. Her clients come to her with an issue, a question, a mystery, and she figures out the best way to find the answer – using whatever tools she can. “I use a combination of new technology and old technology, because I have to solve a problem. So I’ve used everything from geese and dogs to Roombas to drones to GPS.”

Wright is a private investigator – and owner of the Wright Group – based in Anaheim, California. She’s worked in the business for more than 40 years, and has seen the tools available to investigators change dramatically. Early on, stakeouts in vans were important. More recently new technology in the form of tiny cameras and social media has begun to play a role. And she’s embraced those changes. Today, when the problem calls for it, she uses drones to do her work.

She gives me a few examples. If two people are meeting in a public place, a drone can be a helpful way to discreetly watch them. “We stay at about 50-75 feet [15-23 metres] above so nothing can be heard.” Drones are also helpful for aerial surveillance of locations that are hard to access on foot. And if a school or church is worried someone might be stealing or vandalising property, drones or small off-road vehicles (“Roombas on steroids” as she calls them) can film the property.

Chris Wright relies on gamers to pilot her snooping drones (Credit: Thinkstock)

In one case, Wright was asked to figure out whether or not a soda salesperson was crossing county lines and cheating on his contract. California is one of many states in which salespeople have regional contracts – for instance, Bob sells Pepsi in Los Angeles County and Nancy sells Pepsi in Orange County. If Nancy arrives at her usual businesses to sell her Pepsi and finds the soda supply has already been topped up, there’s a good chance that someone (perhaps Bob) has crossed county lines and sold illegally.

Hi-tech toys

Wright was asked to figure out whether this was happening. To do so meant visiting every major soda wholesaler from San Luis Obispo to San Diego – about 300 miles (480km) of California coast – and checking whether any were selling soda from the wrong salesperson. When there was illegal soda on sale, she would use a drone to follow the soda delivery trucks back to their depots. In one case, the warehouse the truck led her back to was out in the desert and would have been impossible to approach by car or foot without being noticed. But the drone was able to spy on the trucks covertly. “We could see between the warehouse door and the truck loading.”

Wright gets her drones from high-end toy stores, for about $200 each. They’re an expensive investment: not only do you have to buy the device, you also have to pay one or two people to pilot and spot the thing. And if you lose one during a mission, you’re out a good chunk of your budget. But it can be worth it, because for the cases in which they’re useful, they can be very useful indeed.

Wright doesn’t pilot the drones herself. “I try to hire gamers. I go to the colleges and high schools and I find out who the geeks are, and then I hire them.” She said that her pilots are more skilled than she would ever be – and they like the challenge. Some of them are working towards their own private investigator licences, and their hours piloting the little devices can count as hours towards their certification. (None of Wright’s gamer pilots were willing to talk for this article. “They’re introverts,” she told me. “Not shy, but introverts.”)

Understandably, the idea of using drones to spy on people isn’t something everybody is comfortable with. In a case in Seattle in 2013, a woman reported that someone was using a drone to spy on her. “This afternoon, a stranger set an aerial drone into flight over my yard and beside my house near Miller Playfield,” she told the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. “I initially mistook its noisy buzzing for a weed-whacker on this warm spring day. After several minutes, I looked out my third-story window to see a drone hovering a few feet away.” Her husband asked the drone operator, who was standing nearby, to move along – but the operator claimed to be acting within his legal rights.

Tightening regulations

Whether that’s true isn’t always clear. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35 states considered adding drone bills to the books last year, and 10 states actually did add new laws. In Iowa, for example, it’s now illegal for the state to use drones to enforce traffic laws. In North Carolina, no one can use a drone for surveillance of a person or private property. And Tennessee now specifies that it’s a misdemeanour to use drones for surveillance of people who are hunting or fishing.

Wright’s drone operations might soon become legally questionable too. Earlier this month, a California senator introduced a bill that would extend property rights into airspace, meaning that drones flying over private property would be considered trespassers. Just a few days before that, President Obama and the Federal Aviation Administration announced new drone regulations as well, requiring – among other things – that drones must be under 55lb (25kg) and that operators must keep the flying vehicles in sight at all times.

Many states in the US are already clamping down on the use of drones (Credit: Thinkstock)

Because the laws are murky, many private investigators steer clear of drones. “The use of drones for surveillance is highly restricted by law,” said Kelly Riddle, a private investigator in Texas. “There are air space regulations as well as privacy laws that can easily be violated. Obtaining video using a drone has thus far been something that we have been advised is illegal.” That’s because drones are often used to observe activities that can’t be seen via a direct line of sight at ground level. Going out of your way to spy on such activities is considered an invasion of privacy, says Riddle. A lot of Wright’s work sidesteps this privacy question, because it involves helping schools and churches monitor their own property.

In all likelihood, the use of drones will be restricted under a more comprehensive set of rules and regulations in the United States sooner than later. But in the meantime Wright will continue to use them when they can help with her work. But she also says that regardless of the legality, if someone thinks their privacy is being compromised, they’re going to do something about it. That can mean shooting down drones – another activity that may or may not be legal. “I think a lot of my colleagues have lost them and realised that it is a tool, and if you invade someone’s privacy, well, if they can hit it they will.”

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#6 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 02:58 PM

ICO warns CCTV operators that use of surveillance cameras must be necessary and proportionate

15 October 2014

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned operators that surveillance cameras must only be used as a necessary and proportionate response to a real and pressing problem.

The warning comes on the day the ICO published its updated CCTV code of practice (pdf). The update includes a look at the data protection requirements placed on operators of new and emerging surveillance technologies, including drones and body worn video cameras.

ICO Head of Strategic Liaison, Jonathan Bamford, said:

“The UK is one of the leading users of CCTV and other surveillance technologies in the world. The technology on the market today is able to pick out even more people to be recorded in ever greater detail. In some cases, that detail can then be compared with other databases, for instance when automatic number plate recognition is used. This brings new opportunities to tackle problems such as crime, but also potential threats to privacy if they are just being used to record innocent members of the public without good reason.

“Surveillance cameras should not be deployed as a quick fix, but a proportionate response to a real and pressing problem. Putting in surveillance cameras or technology like automatic number plate recognition and body worn video is often seen as the first option, but before deploying it you need to understand the problem and whether that is an effective and proportionate solution. Failure to do proper privacy impact assessments in advance has been a common theme in our enforcement cases.”

The updated code explains how CCTV and other forms of camera surveillance can be used to process people’s information. The guidance explains the issues that operators should consider before installing such surveillance technology, the measures that organisations should have in place to make sure excessive amounts of personal information aren’t being collected and the steps organisations should have to make sure the information is kept secure and destroyed once it is no longer required.

The ICO’s CCTV Code of Practice complements the provisions in the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, which applies to police forces, local authorities and police and crime commissioners in England and Wales, as described in the Protection of Freedoms Act. The ICO’s guidance covers a wider area, as the requirements of the Data Protection Act apply to all sectors processing personal information across the whole of the UK, including the private sector. The Data Protection Act does not apply to people using CCTV for their domestic use.

Recent enforcement action taken by the ICO to stop the excessive use of CCTV includes an enforcement notice served on Southampton City Council after the council required the video and audio recording of the city’s taxi passengers 24 hours a day. The ICO also served an enforcement notice on Hertfordshire Constabulary after the force began using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to record every car entering and leaving the small rural town of Royston in Hertfordshire. In both cases the excessive use of surveillance cameras was reduced following the ICO’s action.
Notes to Editors

1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

3. The ICO is on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and produces a monthly e-newsletter.

#7 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 03:18 PM

Drone laws in the UK – what are the rules?
Drones are growing in popularity among consumers, but it's a fine line between innocent domestic use and invasion of privacy, Sophie Curtis discovers

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 05:01 PM

Drone Law (or the Lack Thereof)


This following is a guest blog post by George M. Moore PhD, JD, a Scientist-in-Residence at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, where his course in Drones and Surveillance considers both the technical and legal aspects of drone use and its impact on privacy issues. Dr. Moore is a member of the California and Colorado state bars.

The crashing of a drone on the White House grounds among other recent incidents have shown that drones may pose direct threats to our security, but perhaps a greater long-term threat of drones is to our privacy. A collision between safety, security, privacy rights, and commercial utility is about to happen, and the legal community needs to be prepared to recognize and address the issues that will surely arise.

Like many new technologies, the rapidly changing capabilities of drones have far outstripped the efforts of legislators, regulators, and the judicial system. As implied by the title of this post, there is no field of drone law. The legal system is struggling to see how existing laws in various fields and prior court decisions can be applied to situations involving drones to ensure that Fourth Amendment protections and privacy rights are not eroded by the new technologies.

To some extent, state legislative bodies have been reluctant to provide regulatory guidelines, awaiting federal regulations from the FAA and Congress. But over 20 states have enacted some measure of control over small drones. The California legislature passed AB 1327 in 2014—a measure seeking to control drone use by all state agencies and to establish a one-year time limit for agencies to hold video footage collected by drones—but it was vetoed by Governor Brown.

The FAA has proposed new rules that will legalize commercial uses of small (less than 55 pounds) drones and open US skies to what some estimate as tens of thousands of daily operations.

But there are many questions as to how the First and Fourth Amendments will limit the use of drones for search and surveillance, such as:

Can a drone be used in warrantless surveillance to hover over a suspect’s yard to obtain information that could be used to obtain a valid search warrant, and would this be an authorized warrantless search?
What type of surveillance equipment other than video could a drone use in a warrantless search?
What First Amendment rights are associated with the use of drones?

A number of these issues are fairly similar to those that arose with surveillance from aircraft and rotorcraft/helicopters, which courts have held don’t require a warrant for observations made from them when flying within navigable airspace. See e.g., California v Ciraolo (1989) 476 US 207.

If the new FAA regulations allow drones to operate (as apparently they will) at low altitudes with few restrictions, will this be the “navigable airspace” for drones and therefore federally define where drones may operate in a manner that will preempt state and local regulation? Can a drone be a “Peeping Tom” if it’s operating in navigable airspace? How do laws such as nuisance and trespass play into the equation?

Although federal legislation to deal with these issues would likely be preferable to a series of judicial determinations, some argue that states are a better experimental platform to establish such laws and that Congress should be very wary of “one-size-fits-all” omnibus legislation.

But until laws are passed or cases come down, attorneys will need to familiarize themselves with the basics of the legal issues involving drones, including possible civil liabilities of their clients’ use of drones and the potential effect of warrantless search and surveillance by drones on their criminal clients’ rights.

Learn about the players and issues in the legal arena of drones and how you and your clients may be impacted in CEB’s upcoming webinar Drones: A New (Legal) Frontier on May 18th at noon. On privacy law generally, turn to CEB’s Privacy Compliance and Litigation in California.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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#9 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 05:04 PM

Please click on the link for the full article.

Drones – the privacy, confidentiality and harassment dimensions


How safe from prying lenses do celebrities feel when sunbathing on secluded beaches or by the pool of a private villa? And how safe from prying eyes do you feel barbecuing in your garden or walking around in your flat?

March 2015

Most celebrities probably realise that long-lensed paparazzi may try to position themselves to take a shot they can then sell. Celebrities may take precautions accordingly, perhaps choosing to holiday in villas with high walls. The rest of us assume that we go about our business in our own homes and gardens, for the most part, unobserved and certainly unrecorded. After all, not only are the vast majority of ordinary people of no interest to the media, the inside of their homes and back gardens cannot usually be seen from the street. Could the privacy most of us take for granted be under threat from the use of unmanned aerial devices (UADs) with video cameras and to what extent is filming over garden walls and through windows unlawful?

One of the main attractions of even the cheapest UADs is that they often come with video cameras. This provides the opportunity to film from vantage points well beyond the scope of the average smartphone and social media makes it easy to post such videos onto the internet. This article explores three main legal areas, privacy, confidentiality and harassment, which may mean that someone buzzing their drone over your garden wall or filming through the windows of your home or office could potentially be doing something unlawful. Data protection and aviation rules are considered in other articles in this issue of Download.

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 05:08 PM

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CHART: Dangerous drone-related incidents have suddenly exploded in New Zealand
Peter Terlato Jul 23 2015, 3:56 PM


The number of aviation incidents in New Zealand involving drones has grown from just one in 2011 to more than 50 in the first six months of 2015.

Here’s the annual breakdown for the past five years.

Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) spokesperson Mike Eng told Business Insider an incident was defined as an accident or a flight which can be shown to be dangerous. i.e. a risk to the safety of people or property.

“The incidents range from unmanned aircraft crashing into buildings such as hotels and private residences, and flights that have endangered people and property,” he said.

“None of these accidents have involved collisions with other aircraft or people on the ground.”

Eng attributed the increased number of incidents to the rapidly growing popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in New Zealand.

He said New Zealand is seen by many international drone developers as an ideal place for drone research and development given the relatively uncluttered airspace, a progressive, risk-based regulatory regime and a culture of innovation.

“There are numerous sectors which are looking at increasing the use of unmanned aircraft operation to enhance business productivity and profitability including agriculture, real-estate, and television and film production,” Eng said.

NOW READ: New Zealand’s has strict new drone rules requiring permission to fly every time

#11 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 05:11 PM

Drones boom 'puts insurers at risk of multi-million bill'

Jamie Dunkley
Sunday 26 July 2015


The rise of drone technology could leave manufacturers and operators of the unmanned aerial vehicles facing multi-million pound claims, insurance experts have warned.

The number of drones flying in British airspace has soared in recent years with police forces, defence contractors and media firms among those authorised to operate them.

Earlier this year, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos unveiled plans for Amazon Prime Air, which could see the internet giant use drones to deliver small packages.

“Within the next 10 to 15 years, drones could replace cranes on construction sites and monitor traffic jams on public highways, which means new risks for aviation underwriters,” said Thomas Kriesmann, a senior underwriter at AGCS.

“We see the potential for multimillion-pound claims. We get the impression that the majority of manufacturers are not covered in the way we think they should be and we see complex liability scenarios that could involve manufacturers and service providers.”

Last week, the Civil Aviation Authority said it had recorded seven incidents between May 2014 and March 2015 at airports around the UK in which drones almost collided with planes. The CAA has launched a “dronecode” to alert users to the danger of collisions and accidents. Last week a drone flew within 100 metres of a Lufthansa flight approaching Warsaw airport.

Kieran Walshe, a partner at the law firm DWF, said: “Drones are becoming one of the biggest risks for insurers, but also one of the most significant product development areas due to the rapidly expanding usage by companies, as well as the public. The laws and liabilities involved range from aviation to privacy issues, but also trespass, harassment and data protection, with many drones carrying digital cameras. Criminal prosecutions can and will increase.

“At present, both insurers and drone operators are in uncharted waters. Amazon recently announced that it sells 10,000 drones a month, and the industry is worth over $1bn in manufacturing terms – it’s obvious that the technology is going to expand.”

With the use of commercial drones booming, the European Union is working on new regulations for them, due in the autumn

#12 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 05:15 PM

Please click on the link to read the readers comments

Drone operators may need flying permits under new rules video


Last updated 10:33, July 24 2015

General Aviation General Manager Steve Moore believes removing 'carte blanche' regulations will bring more flexibility for users of shared airspace.

Drone operators must be more open about their surveillance activities under new Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations.

Upgraded rules which come into force on August 1 require drone users to secure permission before hovering over public spaces and private property.

CAA General Manager of general aviation Steve Moore said the new and reinforced rules reflected a significant increase in drone movements nationwide – safety, not privacy concerns was the motivation

Minister for Transport, Simon Bridges and his Associate Minister, Craig Foss, left, prepare to fly a drone at the University of Canterbury's Ilam Fields on Monday following the announcement of new Civil Aviation Authority regulations governing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Bridges is receiving pre-flight instructions from Nick Key from the University's geography department.

"They are potentially able to fly around in the middle of current aircraft. That does pose a safety risk to the public and the people flying those aircraft," he said.


* Rogue drone crash lands on pub
* Dronies takeoff creating aerial headaches
* Police unable to find crashed drone's owner

Moore acknowledged a balance had to be struck between public safety and the continuing development "of one of the most most rapidly developing and dynamic sectors of the aviation industry," when Civil Aviation Rule Part 101 and 102 was unveiled at a University of Canterbury function on Thursday.

Operators had to contact the landowner, an individual – or a local authority if the drone was flying over a public park – and if permission was denied they could apply for an operating certificate under the new Rule Part 102.

They can also use 102 – the CAA's latest interim measure governing drones – to operate outside the existing regulations in a move to offer a greater degree of flexibility.

Rule Part 101 was originally formulated to cover model aircraft and stipulates that a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) cannot fly above an altitude of 120-metres, take-off outside daylight hours and not within 4km of an aerodrome.

Under the new regulations a farmer, for example, was more likely to be able to use a drone at night on his property.

Moore admitted the demand for consent from landowners met with resistance but argued it was the most effective method of managing risks.

"The owner of the property is most likely to be able to identify safety risks on their own land."

A CAA spokesman said 102 offered operators a viable review process.

"We'd have to be pretty certain that it's going to safe. If they (the landowner) said 'No' you can't because I've got high voltage lines criss-crossing my property we'd probably say that's a pretty good reason.

"If they just were saying 'I don't like this guy and that's my reason, it's more likely we would say there's no real safety issue there. We might look at the property and help the operator," he said.

Meanwhile, the CAA recorded 53 incidents involving UAVs in the six months to June this year, a significant increase on the one issue reported in 2011.

Moore, who admitted 53 was "probably not the true number", said the CAA's priority was education rather than fines and prosecutions when regulations were breached.

The maximum fine for an individual was $5000; corporate body's risked penalties of up to $35,000.

Meanwhile, Minister of Transport Simon Bridges, who had joint control of a Draganfly X4 at Ilam Field while associate Minister Craig Foss operated a Aeronavic Bot under supervision, welcomed the new rules.

"We know New Zealanders are tech savvy, we've got a history of huge innovation in transport and we want to unleash that further not stifle it. We've seen UAV's used in a variety of areas already, the possibilities are potentially limitless," he said.

"The rules are about allowing that while also ensuring its safe and responsible."

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle incidents reported to the CAA:

- 2007: 2
- 2008: 1
- 2010: 1
- 2011: 1
- 2012: 3
- 2013: 9
- 2014: 27
- 2015 (to end June) 53

Go to to get information for drone operators.

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#13 User is offline   Alan Thomas 

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 05:49 PM

Instead of toughening up the privacy laws on the use of drones with photographic and video surveillance equipment,

I think they should relax the laws on skeet shooting.

But wait there's more!

Look in the sky, is that the plane is it a bird?
No its a pizza delivered by drone.

I must get me one of those birdwatching eye in the sky cameras


#14 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 05:02 PM

Alan Thomas, you have been asked many a time to cease AND desist hijacking our topics.


Nip it in the bud or you will find yourself before yet another Criminal Court judge.

View PostAlan Thomas, on 28 July 2015 - 05:49 PM, said:

Instead of toughening up the privacy laws on the use of drones with photographic and video surveillance equipment,

I think they should relax the laws on skeet shooting.

But wait there's more!

Look in the sky, is that the plane is it a bird?
No its a pizza delivered by drone.

I must get me one of those birdwatching eye in the sky cameras


#15 User is offline   Alan Thomas 

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 10:32 AM

View Posthukildaspida, on 03 August 2015 - 05:02 PM, said:

Alan Thomas, you have been asked many a time to cease AND desist hijacking our topics.


Nip it in the bud or you will find yourself before yet another Criminal Court judge.

So far you have dominated this thread to the exclusion of all others.

You have raised an important issue of interest which does not just affect privacy but I think also should address the inherent risk of physical injury, especially when not wearing much in the way of helmets and safety goggles while sunbathing in a G string.

Please explain why you do not think I am entitled to an opinion and the manner in which I have expressed that opinion.

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