Privacy Issues and the Use of UASs/Drones in Maryland
10 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2015
Date Written: July 30, 2015
Drones have potential uses in agriculture. A corn or soybean producer could utilize drones to monitor a field checking for bugs, disease, and other pests more efficiently compared to traditional scouting methods. Drones can also be used to monitor irrigation effectiveness or assist in gathering precision data for use in prescriptive planting. Livestock producers could check their stock more efficiently. Drones could provide producers better information on crop/livestock conditions and allow them to quickly react to an outbreak before it is too late.
The use of drones will spark some privacy concerns. I often hear “Well if we can use a drone then that means (fill in the blank) group can use drones to monitor us.” Animal rights groups have already said they plan to use drones to monitor farms towards cruelty to animals (Lee, 2013). Agricultural producers also worry that environmental groups will utilize drones to monitor their operations.
Privacy concerns will only increase once FAA approves the use of all commercial drone use. Concerns will also exist about the ability to use photographs and other evidence gathered from drones flying over farms by a governmental entity or by an environmental or animal rights group. As we will discuss, these are areas of that law that may need to be changed in order to provide any property owner (farmer or non-farmer) privacy protections from drones.
Keywords: agriculture, drones, UAVs, privacy, trespass, nuisance
JEL Classification: k13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation