UK: The local councils in the UK, are using drones to fly over homes to check planning applications, according to a news report of the Daily Telegraph. A dozen local authorities admitted to using or hiring drones after hundreds were asked via Freedom of Information laws.
It is worth noting that in the UK, land owners are supposed to take permission from the authorities before changing the use of land or building. Civil rights activists accused town halls of making unfair intrusions on people's lives while the Information Commissioner warned any use of drones would have to be 'necessary and proportionate'.
The probe was triggered when Epping Forest council, north east of London, produced documents detailing how officials in the Planning Enforcement and Emergency Planning departments. The policies for the drones would ensure they fly high enough to avoid danger to humans or animals. The Information Commissioner warned against unnecessary drone use by councils but in a statement to the Telegraph said it had not yet taken any actions against them.
'But snooping on citizens' homes, gardens and private space without forewarning or explanation is an infringement of privacy and runs counter to the advice for proper use provided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).'
CAA rules demand drone pilots complete an authorised training course and then apply for permission. Commercial operators are allowed to fly small drones weighing less than 7kg in congested areas if they stay more than 50m away from buildings and people.
Source: Daily Telegraph