Drone on: residential privacy is being compromised by the increasing use of drones

WTP property p2

WTP property p2 - Credit: Archant

Landowners are addressing the ‘out of date’ privacy laws surrounding unofficial drone surveillance.

The European Landowners Organization (ELO) has called on EU regulators to update the rules in light of the dramatic growth in the use of drones carrying cameras by private individuals. Their aim is to protect privacy, with proposals including the introduction of systems to enable simple identification of each drone in operation and its owner; guidance for drone users on privacy expectations in relation to privately owned property and land; and the removal of non-commercial drones from the exemption from trespass or nuisance action in the UK,

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural business in England and Wales has said: “Drone technology is already benefiting a wide range of industries, not least agriculture, and the potential here is very exciting. We support taking a light touch approach to regulation because it is important to allow the industry to develop. However the growth in the use of drones with high resolution cameras for leisure purposes presents a significant risk to privacy and requires swift action.”

The ELO believes that existing data protection regulations cannot be used to protect an individual’s privacy from a non-commercial drone operator, and hold hope that the relevant authorities will pay attention to the proposals.