Increased Commercial Drone Use Raises Privacy and Safety Concerns

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on September 9, 2020 in Personal Injury
Updated on April 24, 2024

drone pilot at nightDrone technology, which was previously used with balloons, torpedoes and aerial targets, has been around since the mid-1800s. More recent technology was solely used by the military until 2006. The first commercial permits for drones were issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to aid search efforts for survivors during natural disasters.

Today, in addition to being part of search and rescue missions, drones are also heavily used to transport critical cargo and obtain data and images for:

  • Land surveillance
  • Law enforcement
  • Health care providers
  • Wildlife tracking
  • Disaster response teams

Drones can provide deliveries where timing is crucial, such as for organ transplants. However, as with all useful technology, it is important to also understand what security risks they could pose.

In this month’s newsletter, PKSD discusses some important concerns, such as safety and privacy, that are arising out of the increased use of commercial and private drones.

Is There Any Privacy Under Modern Technology’s Watchful Eye?

Many people have concerns about how drones will affect their privacy. Currently all unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), even those for private use, must be registered with the FAA, and there are certain operational restrictions that an unmanned aircraft systems operator (UAS operator) must follow. However, there are currently no federal restrictions that would prevent a UAS from flying over residential areas.

Laws That Protect Drones

Some may be tempted to try and knock one of these unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) out of the sky, especially if it seems to be infringing on your privacy. However, it is a federal crime to knock down or even jam the signal of a drone or any other aircraft regulated by the FAA.

Risks to Physical Safety

As the usefulness of drones increases, our Milwaukee personal injury lawyers are concerned not just about the impact to our privacy, but also the safety issues. The list of possible threats to physical safety is a long one, especially because of the various places a small unmanned UAS can go. Since 2014, the Golden Gate Bridge roadway has already sustained five drone crashes, even though flying a UAS through a National Park is illegal.

There are additional concerns that drones could intentionally or unintentionally crash into crowds of people, collide with manned aircraft or breach sensitive security perimeters.

What are the Safety Guidelines?

Flying a drone can be fun and serve many useful purposes, but if you want to avoid legal issues and keep yourself and others safe, these guidelines are important to follow:

  • Make sure you research and follow all local laws and ordinances before you take your drone out for a flight.
  • Stay clear of all manned aircraft and other obstacles.
  • If your flight will take you within five miles of an airport, contact the airport or its control tower in advance.
  • Avoid sensitive infrastructure, such as power stations, heavily traveled roadways, or government buildings.
  • Do not photograph people where there is an expectation of privacy, such as someone outside their home, without permission.

Contact an Attorney for Legal Help

If you sustained an injury due to the negligent acts of another, the licensed attorneys at our firm are prepared to help.

We offer a free initial consultation to learn about the accident that caused your injuries and determine your legal options. In this meeting, you will have the opportunity to speak with one of our experienced lawyers about your potential case. If you hire our services, there are no upfront costs and no fees to pay while we represent you. If you do not get paid, we do not get paid.

Call PKSD when you need legal help. 414-333-3333

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