Brakes put on airborne perverts spying on neighbours with drones

Remote controlled drones fitted with cameras are raising privacy concerns. Picture: Mike Burton

Remote controlled drones fitted with cameras are raising privacy concerns.

THE increasing use of unmanned spy drones filming people in their own backyards has sparked demands for a change in legislation.

The Privacy Committee of South Australia wants “inadequate” laws updated to keep pace with rapid advances in technology being misused, but and which is not covered in legislation which datesdating back to 1972 and which has barely changed since.

It is currently legal for remote-control spy drones to film while hovering over beaches,neighbouring houses and swimming pools.

The drones can be purchased for as little as $100 at many stores in SA.

“In many respects the privacy committee now considers the current act to be inadequate to address the threat that these surveillance technologies pose to privacy,” a spokesman told The Advertiser.

The burgeoning drone industry estimates about 100 new drones are taking to the skies over Australia each week, and while the Civil Aviation Safety Authority recorded only 33 licensed commercial operators at the end of May, there are now 55.

Executive director of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems Australia Peggy MacTavish, said the commercial industry was heavily regulated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

The organisation has signed up 200 commercial members in 18 months.

“We try to educate hobbyists and industry, because they need to be aware of and adhere to the rules,” she said.

“This is a greater educational undertaking than we thought for hobbyists because people think they can buy these things off the shelf and fly them wherever, and that is not the case.

“Most true hobbyists are members of organisations which are well aware of the rules but many people, because of how available these products are off the shelf, are not necessarily aware of what rules govern them.”

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