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UK Definition of Surveillance

Discussion in 'Certified UAV Pilots' started by AJStubbsy, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. AJStubbsy

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    Hi all,
    Having been issued a PFAW, with all the mandated stand-offs, etc. and then reading the exemptions for FPV, as well as guidance for flying in congested cities and towns; I'm feeling that the rules and regs. are pretty subjective. In particular, I've been questioning what the term "Surveillance" means, when distinguishing between a Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) and a Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft (SUSA). The difference is significant, in terms of stand-off distances, when you read IN-2014/190, as it basically implies that provided you are not performing surveillance, or data-capture activities, then Article 167 of the ANO does not apply.

    I took the following definition from the 'Protection of Freedoms Act 2012' and if this is what surveillance means to the CAA, then I don't think I'm performing surveillance when filming video from a RPAS for a promotional video.

    “Section 29
    (6) In this Chapter “surveillance camera systems” means—
    (a)closed circuit television or automatic number plate recognition systems,
    (b)any other systems for recording or viewing visual images for surveillance purposes,
    (c)any systems for storing, receiving, transmitting, processing or checking images or information obtained by systems falling within paragraph (a) or (b), or
    (d)any other systems associated with, or otherwise connected with, systems falling within paragraph (a), (b) or (c).”

    I'm interested to know other professionals opinion on this. I'm not wanting to look for loop holes, I just want to be confident that I'm not being unnecessarily restricted by what is stated on my PFAW.

    Thanks for your thoughts and opinions.
     
  2. Scotflieger

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    @AJStubbsy I think you about nailed the definition. A SUSA is basically a SUA fitted with a camera. It introduces some additional CAA distance criteria but also brings you under the rules of the Information Commissioner. These add constraints on recording/filming recognisable individuals, whether intentionally or not, without their agreement. In most cases the 50m minimum distance from people will eliminate them being recognised from a Inspire 1 (X3). The exception would if you inadvertently caught someone sunbathing in their back garden - identifiable by location.
     
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  3. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    DAMN - I need to erase everything now and format my hard drives !!!

    Mr Scotflieger just about nailed it in his post above.

    @AJStubbsy I am curious though - this should all have been covered (or certainly touched upon) within your NQE's ground schooling. Who was your NQE?
     
  4. Scotflieger

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    If you read the Information Commissioner's guidance to UAS users, there is even a suggestion that all recorded material must be protected from hacking and should be encrypted.
     
  5. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    That's it - I'm buying a lead lined concrete bunker now to store all my media in and dig a moat round it and fill it with sulfuric acid! Job done.
    Oh, I also think the Information Commissioner needs to get out a bit more :p
     
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  6. AJStubbsy

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    The NEQ did tell me that Article 167 applied to my use of drones and the footage I record. From my understanding of what surveillance means, I don't believe I'm 'recording or viewing visual images for the purpose of surveillance'. It's the same principal that media reporters take. I can film in a public place, if I want to. It's not considered surveillance. So why is it different filming from the Inspire? It's different if someone, or something, is the subject of video, in which case I need their permission and if I'm gathering footage to interrogate for information, then that can fall in to the data protection act. I could stand in a park filming the trees and if people were in the background, I'm not infringing on their privacy rights because they are in a public place.

    Just a thought that it's not quite as black and white as I was led to believe during my training.
     
    #6 AJStubbsy, Oct 8, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
  7. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    You have always been able to film in a public place without infringing individuals privacy since they would not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in those places.
    The 50/30m 166/7 restrictions apply under your PFAW for SUA or SUSA since they are there for safety not privacy! I'm not sure what your issue is?
     
  8. AJStubbsy

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    I'm not sure why you think I've got an issue, I'm discussing the CAA definition of surveillance based on a report they have issued. I know and abide by the restrictions but they are not necessarily there for safety, since if I didn't have a camera attached the CAA does not require me to maintain those distances.

    IN-2014/190
    3 The Requirements 3.1 The table below shows that the applicable legal requirements in articles 166 and 167 of the ANO 2009 for the operation of any SUA depend upon the weight of the aircraft and whether or not it is surveillance equipped. The CAA-issued aerial work permission may allow
    upload_2015-10-8_13-44-31.png

    There seems to be some debate, in my mind, about the word 'surveillance'. Why doesn't it just say, "if you have a camera attached"? I thought if I asked the question on here there might be someone who has a spotted something in the regulations that clarifies exactly why the table above does not stipulate the same restrictions for <7kg RPAS in general.
     

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  9. IrishSights

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    I took it that the crunch is in the 'equipped' part of 'Surveillance Equipped'. Whether or nor you use it for surveillance it is in fact equipped for that purpose.

    It could be that the CAA think that an operator is potentially likely to take more risks in flying because a camera is used in order to 'get that shot'
     
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  10. AJStubbsy

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    It could well be IrishSights. It seems to me that the CAA are more restrictive of the people that have decided to go down the route of proving their competence and outlining their intentions, than the hobbyist out there that I see on a regular basis.

    I recently did some filming in a town where I had permission from the landowner but I was restricted in my flight plan because I would infringe the stand-off distances from a group of houses that were not the focus of my filming. I don't believe I would have endangered the property if I had a fly-away because there were trees in the way, at the hight I was filming at. I also didn't want to go and get the permission from every house owner, so I maintained the 50m.

    I'm all for safety and enforced regulations, just as long as they are clear and appropriate. I always thought they were pretty clear until I saw that document above and I now I can't see why they don't apply regardless of whether the device is 'surveillance equipped'.
     
  11. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    I understand your frustration but things are very likely to change very soon (the New Year). The CAA are considering relaxing the current 50/30m rule for sub 7kg RPAS provided you hold current PFAW.
    Hobbyist use will remain at its existing limits.

    Watch this space.......
     
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  12. Scotflieger

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    AJStubbsy, you are correct in your confusion over the difference implied for SUA and SUAS. I too asked the same questions. It is an artificial distinction in a document written some time ago. We will always be making our own judgement calls as with your town shoot. Fortunately, as @The Editor says, the UK CAA is one of the most proactive regulators and is continually adjusting the rules. I believe there will be an increasing gap in what qualified pilots and hobbyists will be permitted to do.
     
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  13. Jason Woodcock

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    Any Updates re this I heard there was supposed to be a meeting today?
     
  14. Mr Park

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    *bump* curious to find out if any changes are being planned/implemented?
     
  15. The Editor

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    Do not bump threads - it is strictly against our community rules - Thank You.
    In answer to your question, are you talking about a change in definition of surveillance or a change in 166/7 proximity laws for camera equiped RPAS under the ANO?
    If it is the later then we have to wait for the Euro Cretins to get their act together with EASA. We are talking years rather than months. Of course if the vote goes the way it should and we come out of Europe then the CAA have more autonomy and things will move faster.
     
  16. Mr Park

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    it was in relation to your statement earlier in the thread that things will change in the new year. so I'm sorry about saying *bump* .