The use of drones, a.k.a. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) has increased dramatically over the last few years. Consequently camera mounted UAV’s raise issues concerning privacy.

UAV data information recording methods vary but can include video cameras, microphones, GPS and high powered zooms. A major concern regarding privacy and UAV’s is that they can be used to record identifying personal data (such as vehicle registration numbers) and/or personal data (such as images) of individuals without their consent. It is important to note if an operator is certified to operate in a ‘Specific Category’ then this allows that operator to sell any footage or images taken with their UAV.

If a UAV has a camera, the data it records may be covered by the Data Protection Act 1998 and/or 2018 (DPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as there are potential privacy risks and therefore UAV operators collecting, holding or using personal data or identifying personal data should ensure that they comply with their obligations under the DPA and GDPR.

Compliance requires, among other things, that organisations gather and use footage fairly and lawfully. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) provides guidance to operators on their website. This includes only recording in appropriate locations and letting people know before you start recording.

The UAV and 6K camera platform a.k.a. ‘The Rocket’ used by Empathic Productions Ltd. (pictured above), is a professional, ultra-high definition vision system with interchangeable lenses, capable of flying at speeds up to 94 kph in adverse sub-zero polar or baking desert temperatures. It is a twin piloted system, usually requiring both a navigator/pilot and a camera operator. The footage obtained is typical of the content seen on any action blockbuster screening and is now the industry standard for today’s aerial cinema recording. The resolution and colour rendition of the images, allow us to utilize the platform alongside our ground production equipment, to replicate crane shots and difficult to manoeuvre dolly shots, both in studios, and on private locations. We use a low distortion, 9mm wide-angle lens which creates stunning, high speed, aerial close-ups

Outside of privately controlled studio environments operated by film companies, UAV operators are subject to the aviation regulations which are enforced by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

If a UAV is flying more than 50 meters above your private property, it is unlikely to be an offense. However, if a UAV is flown FILMING over private property without the owner’s permission, the operator might be liable for trespass. However, just because a UAV has a camera on it doesn’t necessarily imply that the camera is actually switched on and recording.

The CAA (in the UK), controls the airspace above the surface of the earth and the day to day management of the airspace is conducted by National Air Traffic Services on behalf of the CAA. Seeing a UAV flying above your property does not mean that you will automatically have the law on your side. Legally all airspace belongs to the State, and while as a property owner you might argue you have ownership of the airspace above your property, you do not have control and jurisdiction of what goes on in that airspace. On the other hand, if you have asked a UAV operator to stop flying at low altitude over your property, and they continue to do so repeatedly, it may constitute harassment.

If you believe Empathic Productions Ltd. has recorded, collected and held your personal data without your permission, the first step would be to contact us and also refer to our public privacy policy. Individuals have the right to access their data, receive a copy of their data and request to have their data removed.

Empathic Productions is a fully qualified UAV operator and holds the latest pilot training certifications demanded by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as well as the necessary insurance to perform commercial undertakings. It should be noted that the CAA no longer distinguishes between commercial and recreational UAV operations for remote pilot competency certifications. In order to carry out commercial operations we are required by law to hold a public liability insurance value of 750,000 Drawing Rights which approximates to £750K.

It is dangerous to interfere with anybody in control of a UAV while the aircraft is in the air. If you wish to communicate with a UAV operator, a.k.a. the pilot in the field, you should signal your intention from a distance and then wait and follow their instructions. Interfering with a pilot in charge of a UAV could lead to a criminal prosecution by the authorities.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about Empathic Productions’ use of UAV’s or our Privacy Policy, please contact us:

By using our CONTACT page

By post: Empathic Productions Ltd. Innovation Centre Medway, Maidstone Road, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9FD.

Empathic Productions Ltd. is a UK based company, providing aerial videography and photography by means of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and operate under the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Air Navigation Order 2016. CAA REF: 20220529 Empathic Productions Ltd UAS14305

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