8. What do I need to remember before using drones for professional purposes?

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Always remember:

  • Professional drone use for commercial activity can threaten people’s privacy and data protection, which are protected by law in the EU.
  • The threat to privacy and data protection that a drone could pose would depend on its use, as well as what kind of equipment it has, e.g. microphones, cameras, GPS, etc.
  • Privacy concerns can arise when using drones both in private, as well as public settings. Use your best judgment on whether or not people believe they are in a more private setting and respect their privacy accordingly.
  • Activities that could especially threaten privacy include: the collection of images and other visual data; the capture of a particular person over a prolonged period of time; and/ or capturing information that could reveal very personal aspects about people, including their religious or political beliefs.
  • Drones could cause people to be concerned about their privacy even if they are not equipped with a camera. Remember to be as transparent and visible as possible.
  • Data protection concerns arise when you collect information that allows the identification of people. Remember that sometimes people could be identified from the context of the capture, even if their faces are not clearly visible.
  • If you have captured a person’s image with a clearly visible face, that is considered personal data. You will have to follow data protection principles to ensure you comply with the law.
  • Think of the best way for you to use drones in your professional/ commercial activities without capturing private aspects of people’s lives. In any event, always:
    • Inform people of your activities
    • Ask them for their consent, if you believe they will be captured
    • Treat the collected information securely
    • Comply with their wishes on what you can and cannot do with the information.
  • Do not target and pursue a specific individual in your activities without their knowledge and consent.
  • Do not share the information of anyone with third parties unless that person has consented to it. 
  • Before you use the personal data of anyone for any purpose, make sure they know what you want to use it for and that they agree to it. Do not use the data for anything else.
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