You asked and we answered. Here are some FAQs for professional drone pilots:
What general rules should I keep in mind?
Always respect people and their privacy. Think what is the most effective way for you to use drones in your professional activities without capturing private aspects of people’s lives. Always:
- fully inform people of your activities
- ask them for their consent if it is unavoidable that you may collect some of their personal information
- treat the information securely
- listen to their wishes regarding what you can and cannot do with the information
What difference does it make what kind of information I capture with my drone?
Generally, you should always respect the privacy of people and treat them with respect. However, if you capture images of people who can be identified, especially if their faces are visible, this will be considered personal data in the EU. This means that, in addition to respecting privacy, you will also have to comply with all data protection principles and rights of the data subjects.
Am I allowed to capture images or video footage of individuals in private?
Generally, no. This is unless individuals are aware of your activities and have agreed to being recorded.
Am I allowed to capture images or video footage of individuals i public?
Generally, yes. This is unless you target a specific person and monitor their movements or behaviour. Also, keep in mind how best to be transparent about your activities and enable people to contact you if they have any questions or concerns.
Can I use my drone if capturing people is the main goal of my activity?
This is not prohibited, as long as you comply with privacy and data protection requirements. Make sure to read our Handbook carefully. The best practice approach is to ensure that you are visible to people, to ask for their agreement or consent, to comply with their concerns and requests, whenever possible, and to use your drone in a way that minimises the number of personal images and other types of personal data
Who can I share my video footage with?
You can share your video footage with anyone, if people in the video are not identifiable. If they are identifiable or can potentially be identified because of your footage, you must inform them of who and why you plan on sharing the footage, so they can agree/ disagree with it.
What can I use my images or videos for?
If there are no identifiable people in the images or videos, you can use them for any purpose you would like. However, if the people are recognisable and their faces are clearly visible, it should not be used without the knowledge and consent of people in the footage. In this situation, you must inform identified or identifiable people of what you want to do with the images or videos and they must have the opportunity to agree to it before you can do anything with the footage, including posting it on social media.
What if I collect other information about people, not images or videos?
Always respect the data protection principles and data subject rights irrespective of the type of personal data you collect and use - whether it is their address/es, location, IP addresses or facial or body images.
Are there special considerations in an emergency?
Generally, you can use a drone without breaking the law if you are using your drone on behalf of a national authority during an emergency or a life-threatening situation. This situation might include, for example, infrastructure collapse or lost skiers during an avalanche. However, as soon as the emergency is over, make sure to keep any information you collected during your flight in a way that respects the data protection principles and rights or delete it.
Have more privacy or data collection-related questions? Asks us on Twitter @DroneRules_EU.
Find more resources for professional drone pilots here.