Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles, which promise exciting business and humanitarian prospects. For example, Amazon plans to deliver packages in the future via drones. Drones also provide the capacity to deliver vaccines and supplies to hard to reach places. However, along with the fantastic business and humanitarian opportunities, drones present a real danger to the privacy and safety interests of people. Drones have become small enough that people can use them recreationally. There are even cases of individuals spying on their neighbours using drones. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/so-this-is-how-it-begins-guy-refuses-to-stop-drone-spying-on-seattle-woman/275769/
If the future Queen of England can be photographed topless in France by a photographer using a long-lens, then just imagine the footage that the paparazzi can get with tiny drones that can sneak undetected into people’s homes.
On the recent episode of The Agenda with Steve Paikin, the Former Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Dr. Ann Cavoukian speaks out about the need for regulations regarding drones. The video can be watched here: http://tvo.org/video/207070/here-drone-there-drone
Dr. Cavoukian suggests that regulatory agencies move beyond a silo mentality, while encouraging technology companies to embed privacy features into their products. She asserts that it is not an either-or problem. It is not either we have technology or we have privacy. We can have both.
As drones become more prevalent, new legal issues will undoubtedly arise. Drones therefore present a unique business opportunity for lawyers. Companies selling drones, people using drones, and people feeling violated by drones will all need legal advice.