UAVs, or drones, continue to be the subject of many media features almost on a daily basis with interest growing as it's one of the fastest developing technology industries; from emerging platform types, their capabilities and the diverse ways commercial aerial imaging services and their applications can provide. With this come many challenges; appropriate commercial operator training/certification, legislation and safety to name a few. However, one of the most apparent and important aspects to observe, particularly as a commercial operator, are concerns regarding individual privacy.
ARC Aerial Imaging understands the public's perceptions and concerns with UAV/drone use in UK airspace and, as part of its modus operandi, respects the privacy of others by following procedures and policies outlined by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) regarding data protection and privacy.
As a general guide the following informative 8 minute video (courtesy of Frank D'Amato - www.youtube.com/user/fdnyfish) illustrates what can and cannot be clearly identifiable at various heights from a UAV/drone.
In its pursuit to continually improve its practices and to alleviate these concerns, ARC Aerial Imaging undertakes the following approaches towards delivering its diverse aerial imaging services.
Flight planning. ARC Aerial Imaging's UAVs' batteries are limited in their flight durations. By understanding our platform's capabilities we are able to make best use of its flights by planning effectively and also put in place plans to also avoid invading the privacy of other people. For example, it may be more privacy-friendly to launch from a different location rather than flying close to other people or their property.
Let people know before you start recording. In most client tasking circumstances this is going to be quite straight forward because the client will be briefed on ARC Aerial Imaging's approach towards aerial imaging (method statements). In other circumstances, for example imaging a property on behalf of an estate agent which might unintentionally include the imaging of another property nearby, this is going to be more difficult. Should this be the case, ARC Aerial Imaging will take appropriate steps to inform those prior to the conduct of aerial imaging.
Keeping our UAVs in view. In accordance to our license (PFAW) conditions to commercially operate UAVs, the operator will be clearly visible and therefore make it easy for members of the public to identify the person responsible for the UAV.
You can find more information regarding the ICO's advice for UAV operators at the following link https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/drones