Proposals to Address Privacy Violations and Surveillance by Unmanned Aerial Systems
29 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2017
Date Written: 2016
The rapid proliferation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), commonly known as “drones”, has given rise to considerable public concern about privacy and unwelcome surveillance and observation. This paper reviews some of the privacy and surveillance concerns created by UAS, and considers the effectiveness of existing New Zealand law in addressing those concerns. Current law does not effectively address the new technology, and a package of legal and regulatory changes is required. UAS raise unique challenges, not least the anonymity of the operator, and the merits of alternative solutions are discussed. I propose the adoption of a package of measures including: tort law reform, the promulgation of a “Code of Practice for UAS Operations” under the Privacy Act 1993, an encoded radio frequency beacon to identify approved operators, provision for aerial trespass by unmanned aircraft, provision for the destruction of unmanned aircraft committing trespass, and the clarification of what constitutes a privacy violation by broadcast or closed-circuit television and video systems.
Keywords: privacy, surveillance, drones, UAS, regulation
JEL Classification: K20, L50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation