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5 privacy tips for recreational drone pilots

(NC) As drones become a more popular tool for many of us – for taking spectacular bird’s-eye view photographs, for example – privacy concerns are something to be aware of.

Breaking privacy laws can come with some hefty fines and serious consequences. Here are five things to know to avoid trouble.

Remember accountability
Drones are aircraft, and the people flying them are pilots. As a drone pilot, you’re responsible for all the personal information that your drone collects.

Capture fewer personal details
Avoid collecting personal information in the first place if you don’t need it. Steer away from close-ups of people, cars and homes.

For personal details that you do capture accidentally, like faces or licence plates, blur them out before sharing the content.

Share your plans
If you’re using your drone somewhere you might capture personal information, do your best to let people who will be affected know and to get their consent. It’s a good idea to explain how you plan to use the footage, and how you’re protecting their privacy, such as deleting the footage immediately or storing it safely.

Use secure storage
If you capture personal information in your footage, make sure you’re the only one who can access it. While it might seem like an afterthought, not taking reasonable steps to limit access can leave you unprotected if the footage is stolen or shared more widely by accident.

Be courteous and up front
If someone is concerned about how your drone affects their privacy, do your best to respond to their complaint politely and respectfully. Violating privacy can result in criminal charges related to voyeurism, mischief or creating a nuisance.

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