“It is the policy of the United States that the operation of any unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system shall be carried out in a manner that respects and protects personal privacy consistent with the United States Constitution and Federal, State, and local law.”
So what does this mean? We are not sure there is a real complete answer yet as to what is required. Here is our attempt.
We operate a UAS primarily for news and event gathering, and as such we operate in the NAS and in public. News gathering in the public space has historically been a protected First Amendment protected activity.
What we collect:
We generally collect both still and video images from elevations from ground level up to and including any legal altitude allowed by law or regulation. These images may include GPS coordinates, time, date and other meta data related to the camera. This information is collected automatically and is generally not deleted or removed. From time to time during the course of our activities street names, addresses, vehicle license plates, and identifiable persons or properties may also be recorded.
As part of the UAS operations, we also collect GPS based flight records that include data such as location, altitude, speed and direction. We also may collect client names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other information to facilitate communication, billing and delivery of product.
How we use collected data:
The data and images we collect are used for reporting newsworthy events and other events that may be of public interest. We also may choose to sell the collected images and/or video recordings to other parties for use in other editorial projects. Certain images and/or video recordings may be used for commercial projects provided there is either a model/property release on file, or there are no readily identifiable individual persons or property in the images and/or video recordings.
Retaining collected data:
We retain all video recordings and still images indefinitely. We use various storage methods including local and cloud storage solutions. Information that is collected on paper client forms is retained on paper for use in contact, billing and delivering of product. Client information will be entered into accounting and billing software and is retained in that system.
Dissemination of data:
The data that we collect in the form of still images or video recordings are sent or distributed to various clients or outlets. These images or video recordings may contain GPS, time and date data that may still be included with the images or video recordings. In the normal process of editing and rendering video recordings, this meta data may be stripped out. There is no guarantee that this information will be removed.
Client information such as name, address, phone number, email address, etc will not be sold, rented, lent, or distributed unless under court order to disclose said information, or in the event that the client grants permission to disseminate said information.
Deletion of data:
We generally do not delete data once it is collected unless said data is no longer of use to the company. Electronic information such as that in billing or accounting software is simply deleted. Paper records are shredded. This is not the DOD or government, while we take certain precautions to help keep information private, such as locked file cabinets, or password protected computers. we can not and will not guarantee the complete privacy of collected information.
We do not use any kind of facial recognition or license plate readers at this time. We do not utilize UAS equipment, video recorders, audio recorders, of still cameras to spy, or surveil anyone without court order to do so.