First drone complaint investigated in New Zealand

On 12 August 2015, the Office of Privacy Commissioner (OPC) completed its first investigation into a complaint about a drone.

The drone had been filming a cricket match and, in doing so, flew over the apartment of the complainant.  The complaint alleged that the drone may have captured highly sensitive information in an unreasonably intrusive manner.  He did not give consent for the drone to film him.

Following inquiries made to SkyTV, which had been operating the drone, the OPC was not satisfied that the complainant’s personal information had been collected: while in the air the drone was filming only intermittently (when requested by SkyTV’s producer), and had not in fact filmed the complainant.   Accordingly the OPC found that SkyTV did not breach the Privacy Act.

The OPC noted that  SkyTV had used the drone to film and broadcast other identifiable individuals during the same cricket match.  In that instance, the drone operator could see the individuals, and had used hand gestures to show that he wanted to film them with the drone.  The individuals in turn signalled their consent with hand gestures.

Link: Privacy Commissioner Case Note