Increased Use of Drones Leading to Voyeurism Concerns

The drone industry is expected to grow significantly over the next few years and it’s affecting nearly every industry in the world. Roof inspections, for instance, should be performed at least once or twice a year, and are now able to be completed via unmanned aircraft system (UAS), more commonly known as: drones.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, drones are being used by insurance firms, real estate agencies, and property inspectors to inspect difficult to reach areas of high structures. The increased use of these aerial machines is prompting concerns for potential cases of privacy invasion.

“We are aware of incidents where drones have been used purely for the purpose of spying on others and invading their privacy,” said Kim Henshaw, chief executive of Strata Community Australia. Drone operators are required to follow privacy regulations set by federal law and many believe that local laws as well as each individual building manager’s rules should be considered and respected as well.

“We want managers to take action and notify all owners and residents about the presence of a drone being used for maintenance and inspections,” Henshaw added, “including details regarding the time of use, and for what period.”

According to Lorraine Scott, who started Aerial by Drone, a company for building and insurance inspections, privacy is one of the most important aspects of her industry.

“The last thing we want is to upset anyone,” Scott said. “You can also hear the drones long before you see them. To date we have not had an issue with privacy.”

Pilot-Tribune and Enterprise reports that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is approving the use of drones for commercial real estate teams around the United States.

Licensed drone pilots granted Section 333 Exemption are able to operate drones to conduct aerial videography, photography and cinematography for real estate, agriculture and search and rescue. Currently, in the U.S., you can’t fly a drone commercially without exemption, but after August 29, anyone is allowed to take the FAA test to obtain a remote pilot certificate and fly drones.

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