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UAV Experiences 9 C. Amey Hi Ray,Just re-read your post from August. My reply is based on lengthy task force committee discussions on both topics you mentioned. Keep in mind that the committee included multiple representatives from various law enforcement agencies.Invasion of privacy is more than taking a picture of someone without their permission. That happens all the time. It is the intent and use of the picture that constitutes invasion of privacy. There are certainly precautions that we should take to minimize any potential litigation. For example, flying over a beach would best be done when the beach would be expected to have few if any beach-goers. Flying over a backyard pool party for the express purpose of photographing the pool party could be invasion of privacy. Flying over multiple properties for the purpose of mapping, and inadvertently catching imagery of a pool party would not be invasion of privacy. However, we would be wise to edit the imagery and remove anything that could be offensive if we intend to sell the imagery to a client or others.Trespass is a murky issue. We debated trespass during each meeting. The basic premise is that trespass ONLY occurs when you personally and physically enter someone's property. Flying a drone over someone's property is not trespassing. Similar to road rights of way, the property owner may own the airspace, but the FAA regulates that airspace and allows any approved FAA aircraft to fly in that space. FAA regulates airspace above the "blades of grass". Therefore, flying a drone over someone's property cannot be construed as trespassing. If so, then all manned aircraft would have to seek permission.We considered all sorts of legislative procedures, but soon realized that drones do not create an exhaustive need for revisions to current legislation. For example, it is illegal to smuggle drugs into a prison. Just because someone might use a drone to do this, that does not make it legal. We don't need a law to say that it is illegal to smuggle drugs with drones. If it is illegal without a drone, it is illegal with a drone.The laws that we do need are laws to enable law enforcement to enforce FAA regulations. Currently, the FAA says that we cannot, amongst other things, fly over people. However, state and local police agencies have no authority to enforce the FAA regulations, and FAA does not have the manpower to police the activities within a state. We also realized that the key for law enforcement is not to consider the FAA regulation violations, but to look to other non-airspace laws. For example, hovering over someone's backyard is not illegal as far as FAA airspace is concerned. but if it could be construed that nuisance, stalking or harassment laws were being violated, then there may be an avenue for local law enforcement.There are many changes still on the horizon. They are even going as far a considering Unmanned Traffic Management systems that would monitor all UAV activity. Interesting.Stay tuned......
Monday, December 4, 2017
UAV Task Force suggestions for consideration 6 C. Amey Craig,I agree with you 100% regarding PA 115. As licensed professional surveyors we are already legally and ethically bound to protect the public's welfare. The UAV is merely another "tool" we may use (like the EDM). If we keep our UAVs below 200' the FAA should have no jurisdiction to restrict and regulate our "tools". Any concerns the public may have are already addressed in PA 115. We should only be liable for actual damages caused by our own negligence during the course of a UAV survey. Also, most survey crews do already obtain imagery of private property during a survey (with digital cameras). The only difference is that a UAV is a remotely controlled camera. We should have unfettered usage of all our tools in order to conduct surveys and safeguard the public's welfare.
by M. Mokanyk
Monday, August 7, 2017
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