Is the Law Silent on Owning and Using Drones?
The rise in the number of drones in Australia is making many people quite uneasy. But the law requires that anyone flying a drone that is more than 2kg to register with CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority). In fact, the law requires that such individuals should secure a certificate before putting the unmanned vehicles in the sky.
For those who own smaller recreational drones, the rules regulating their use are a little bit lost as long as one keeps his UAV below an altitude of 121. They should also ensure that the vehicles are flown away from the crowd. Also, the vehicles should be kept within the line of sight. Already, CASA has released a reference guide that new pilots should read before flying their unmanned vehicles.
The recreational vehicles are equipped with high tech cameras, a thing that allows them to have unlimited surveillance. The Privacy Act is silent on you and me but it is clear on all organizations with over $3million revenue. It means that recreational owners who cannot raise that kind of money have been left out.
So does it mean that it is legal for anyone who owns a drone to spy over a neighbour with a drone? Notice that anti-stalking legislation forbids this. Experts argue that it is illegal to record activity on private property. Other experts argue that there is no hard and fast rule. Whatever the case, the law does not say much concerning recreational drones.
So far, no private individual has taken action against the owner of drones who breached Privacy Act. However, those who work in organizations with an annual revenue of $3million have been sectioned under the act.
Carven has pointed out that depending on the conduct, trespass to property may be the only avenue to provide redress in these circumstances. However, if a pilot breaches surveillance laws including Victoria Surveillance Device Act where a drone is used to record activity or a private conversation in a private person’s home they could be sued. However, the Victoria law does not prohibit taking video footage as long as it is done without recording audio of the proceedings. Craven says that doing this does not contravene the law.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has said that it is planning to review regulations on the recreational drone. It plans to have the new laws at the end of a decade. Even though, the federal agency says that it is not concerned and has no jurisdiction over the privacy issue.