We value our customers, existing and potential. That is why we offer educational courses to help transfer knowledge to the masses to further the UAV industry. Thanks to the media, there is a lot of negative hype and misconceptions surrounding drones. Military strikes, reckless hobbyists flying near planes, helicopters and fires; the few bad incidents that exist are over-sensationalized to boost ratings, as drones are the current global hot topic.
We have spoken with a lot of people over the years about drones. Generally the male populace thinks they are “awesome” while the female populace leans towards the sentiment of “creepy”. These are generalizations of course. Another sweeping statement that seems to be true is that most people unfamiliar with drones believe they violate their privacy rights and something needs to be done about that.
They are right. While laws exist to govern privacy, something does need to be done. UAV pilots need to start taking accountability for themselves and policing each other.
See that picture up above? We could tell you that it is a drone picture of the US Whitehouse, but it isn’t. It’s a satellite image from Google maps. Can you tell the difference? We can’t. Ever seen Google Street View? It will give you a ground level image of your house and everything about your neighbourhood. Own a cell phone? Guess what? Everywhere you’ve gone since you’ve owned it has been tracked and your behavioural patterns have been logged for targeted marketing campaigns. Those teens that walked by you earlier taking selfies? Did you give them permission to include you? We didn’t think so. What about the photographer with a night vision, telephoto lens that is hiding in the bush 1 km away and taking pictures of you at night? Yeah. We’re scared of him too.
LAW OF TECHNOPHOBIA
The truth is people simple don’t know, and what we don’t know tends to make us afraid. Douglas Adams wrote a piece on technophobia over ten years ago, and it applies as much to drones as to any other new piece of technology that gets introduced.
Everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
Anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
Anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.
Let’s look at smartphones as an example of this.
Firstly, my five year old nephew has been using an iPhone better than I can since he was age 2. Enough said on that.
Secondly, there was an incident when cameras were first introduced on smartphones and someone took a picture of someone else in a gym changing room. There was an uproar when the media front-lined the story. Everyone was “ban smartphones, they violate our rights!” Sound familiar? How’d that work out? Now we post every moment of our waking lives from food to poop to where we are to how we’re feeling all on social media. You don’t even have to be a con artist to track a target any more – people give you all their personal information willingly and in excess. Here, take our stuff!
Drones are not a fad. Drones are here to stay. And that’s a good thing.
GOOD USES OF DRONES
- Police Search and Rescue (SAR) – A drone can cover an area of ground far better than a group of officers/volunteers, and at no risk to assets. An elderly man went missing for 3 days. A drone hobbyist used his drone to find him in 20 minutes!
- Ambulance Drone – The Netherlands have introduced a prototype for a rapid deployment drone with defibrillator built in!
- Lifeguard Drone – The Iranians have introduced a drone that can rescue a drowning swimmer in a fraction of the time a human lifeguard can.
- First Response Drones – There are already UAV pilot organizations who volunteer to help quickly respond to global crises, locating survivors and mapping out damaged terrain in a fraction of the time ground troops can
- The list goes on and on – agriculture, personal safety, medical and food relief. The world is changing thanks to drones.
CANADIAN PRIVACY LAW
There is no UAV Privacy Law in Canada. There is simply Privacy Law. It applies to everything.
There are two different Acts governing privacy in Canada; the Canadian Privacy Act, and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
The Privacy Act covers government and private organizations (like healthcare) and how citizens go about obtaining any personal information that has been collected about them.
This is the one we want to talk about. This is the one that affects business organizations. Here’s a brief summary to keep you safe.
- Accountability: an organization is responsible for personal information under its control and shall designate an individual or individuals who are accountable for the organization’s compliance with the following principles.
- Identifying Purposes: the purposes for which personal information is collected shall be identified by the organization at or before the time the information is collected.
- Consent: the knowledge and consent of the individual are required for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, except where inappropriate.
- Limiting Collection: the collection of personal information shall be limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified by the organization. Information shall be collected by fair and lawful means.
- Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention: personal information shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by the law. Personal information shall be retained only as long as necessary for fulfilment of those purposes.
- Accuracy: personal information shall be as accurate, complete and up-to-date as necessary for the purpose for which it is to be used.
- Safeguards: personal information shall be protected by security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.
- Openness: an organization shall make readily available to individuals specific information about its policies and practices relating to the management of personal information.
- Individual Access: upon request, an individual shall be informed of the existence, use and disclosure of his or her personal information and shall be given access to that information. An individual shall be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.
- Challenging compliance: an individual shall be able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to the designated individual or individuals for the organization’s compliance.
What does that mean for drones? It means that if you are going to capture imagery of people with your drone, tell them in advance why you are capturing it, what it will be used for, how they can see it before it’s published, get written consent, and have someone responsible for ensuring any unused footage is either destroyed or remains private. That’s it in a nutshell.
Transport Canada is the governing body for UAV in Canada. In regards to privacy, they say if you’re within 30 ft of a subject, get their permission.
It’s also interesting to note that if you are a non-profit or charity organization, or using the image recreationally, you don’t need to get permission. However, a person can request you not take their image and that must be legally respected.
As always, fly safe!