To Drone or Not To Drone

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In the last few years, we have seen an ever-increasing number of drones being purchased and used in NSW.

One industry that has increased the use of drones is the real estate industry, with agents always wanting to take that best shot to sell a property. Whenever you search realestate.com.au, there is nearly always a drone shot of the property for sale.

Another industry using drones is event coordination, to get a bird’s eye view of attendees enjoying festivities.

Drones have also overtaken the kite as a gift for our kids. Instead of just holding a piece of string with some plastic at the end, kids can now fly a drone all over the neighbourhood.

The issue is, where does this leave privacy? Are we free to fly drones or are we infringing people’s privacy?

The Australian legal framework has largely failed to keep pace with these changing trends. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulates drones in terms of aviation safety, but its powers do not extend to other key issues such as privacy and insurance.

Unlike some other States in Australia, New South Wales surveillance laws are relatively comprehensive, regulating the use of listening devices, optical surveillance devices, tracking devices, and data surveillance devices which monitor information to and from a computer.

Unbeknownst to drone users, they may be in breach of the NSW laws because they have failed to take a few moments to think of the wider implications of flying their drone. If flown in the wrong place, the operator of the drone could be in breach of privacy laws, could be charged with stalking, or could even be infringing national security.

Also, local councils have put in place prohibitions against flying drones in public parks and playgrounds. This will vary from Council to Council and it is a good idea to contact your local Council and inquire whether there are any restrictions on flying drones.

Consequently, in New South Wales we need to take a few moments to ensure that we are not breaching any laws or regulations when flying drones, either for personal recreation or in the course of our business.

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Raea Khan Circle
Director Lawyer
Raea Khan

Raea is Managing Director and Principal Lawyer for PBl Law Group. Raea assists clients with major projects, property developments, construction and strata law.

He has worked in Western Australia and Queensland assisting with expansion projects in the energy and resource sector and now predominately advises clients in Strata and Community Association matters.

He is a member of the Australian College of Strata Lawyers where majority of his work is advising developers and owners corporations with dispute related minor and major defects, strata governance and common property litigation. He is proficient at leading negotiations and meetings.

Raea has a particular interest in the commercial aspect of any dispute and always tries to weigh up the risk, reward and benefit of legal proceedings at each different stage.

Raea enjoys all forms of competitive sport, including Crossfit and actively participates in Triathlons, representing Australia as an age group athlete. He was a member of Red Head Surf Lifesaving club.

  • Strata Law
  • Construction & Major Projects
  • Commercial and Business Law
  • Planning & Environment Law