Take care when ‘Droning’ on

19 February 2018

Law firm calls for clarity around drone privacy issues

GREATER clarity is required around what new droning legislation could mean for personal privacy says Belfast law firm O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors.

“Changes to current droning laws are due to be published in Spring 2018 and will have a significant impact on safety but interestingly they remain largely silent on the issue of privacy,” explains Imelda McMillan, senior partner at the firm.

No longer the preserve of military, corporate and civilian use of drones has increased dramatically as the devices become cheaper and more sophisticated. However with increased access, comes an inevitable rise in cases of misuse.

In November 2017, the British Airline Pilots Association stated that there had been 81 reported incidents of drone near misses with aircrafts so far that year, and in December 2017 ten individuals were sentenced for the smuggling of drugs and phones into prisons.

“The new legislation is intended to strike a balance between enabling the revolution of drone technology and ensuring that drone operators act safely and legally. That is all well and good,” says Ms McMillan “but it does not adequately deal with the controversial area of privacy rights and infringements.”

“As it is a draft Bill being unveiled in Spring, we would urge those responsible to take the opportunity at the time of publication to shed some light on the issue.”

She adds; “Until then, our advice to those flying drones – whether for personal or corporate use – is to be respectful of others and abide by the current laws, keeping at least 50m away from people and properties and at least 150m away from crowds and built-up areas.”

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