Drones can provide users with a bird’s eye view of society that has not been available before.  As use becomes more widespread, so does the need for regulation of security and privacy, according to Parke Lawyers.

It is vital that regulators stay on top of this ever-developing technology, Parke Lawyers Managing Director Jim Parke says. “This is a must to prevent a repeat of the sort of security risk presented by the recent drone assassination attempt in Venezuela and to prevent personal privacy being compromised.”

Mr Parke says the use of drones also presents new and exciting commercial opportunities.

“For photographers, real estate agents, architects, builders, building inspectors, farmers, security workers, traffic authorities, law enforcement officers and the like, it is not difficult to see that the use of drone photography or videos can enhance operations.

“The opportunities are almost endless and it can no longer be said that the sky is the limit,” Mr Parke says. “However, with regulation varying from nation to nation, state to state and even from council to council, it is important that those wanting to take advantage of the opportunities to understand how they can operate within the law.”

In an ever-changing technological world, Parke Lawyers has business law specialists who keep abreast of developments and can provide relevant, up-to-date advice to those wishing to use drones or any other form of aerial imagery for commercial purposes.

“Before taking flight with a drone, it is important to have a full understanding of what you are seeking to achieve and whether or not it is lawful to do so.  Good advice can reduce the risk of costly litigation regarding security, privacy and trespass issues,” Mr Parke says.

The  Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) has differing rules for drone use, depending upon whether the use is recreational or commercial.  For example, the recreational drone use rules require such things as staying more than 30 metres away from other people, not flying over or above people,  never flying a drone anywhere near an aircraft and, if your drone weighs more than 100g, staying more than 5.5 kilometres from airports.

Other regulations regarding privacy and security matters are not straightforward  – those matters are largely the subject of local or State laws, rather than CASA  regulation.

“This is a developing area around the world and regulators are coming to terms with it,” Mr Parke says, “but it varies greatly, including from place to place within Australia.”

Mr Parke says Queensland is the first state to have developed a whole-of-government approach with its Queensland Drone Strategy released in June 2018.  However, at this stage it is only a “strategy” and has referred “the question of whether Queensland’s legislation adequately protects individuals’ privacy in the context of modern and emerging technologies to the Queensland Law Reform Commission.”

He says, “In light of the complex privacy and security issues around drone use, I strongly urge any individual or business considering taking to the skies for commercial purposes to seek legal advice.”

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