Drones And Surveillance: What Are Our Rights To Use And Our Rights To Privacy?
If you are interested in drones and surveillance, it is important to understand the laws surrounding this type of equipment. You don’t want to get yourself caught in a situation where you are breaking the law, knowingly or unknowingly, and you should also be aware of your rights to privacy.
In Canada, if your drone is less than 35kg in weight and is used for recreational purposes you are allowed to fly it without permission from Transport Canada, but the organization encourages adherence to its safety guidelines. These guidelines include following aviation regulations and respecting the Criminal Code and other regulations that enforce privacy.
If drones are used for surveillance in Canada, or to collect personal information in any way, they are subject to the usual privacy law requirements that come with data collection. So, if you are capturing an image for commercial use, people must consent to it and know what you are using the image for.
There are no privacy laws specific to drones in Canada – yet. Many companies, organizations, and people interested in the subject believe that specific legislation to deal with this technological advance is coming, soon.
In the meantime, if you are using a drone, you must be aware of where you are flying it and what you are capturing. Avoid private property to stay on the right side of the law, and do not film people for commercial purposes without getting their prior consent. If you are using a drone recreationally, you may have more leeway when filming in public areas, but you should always check in on privacy laws before undertaking any kind of drone surveillance operation, just to be sure that you are in the clear and doing things correctly.