One evening in April 2017, Darwin resident Karli Hyatt had a disturbing encounter. As she swam naked in her backyard pool, she noticed a drone hovering above. Concerned that it was recording footage of her which could end up on the internet, Hyatt went to investigate what her options were. Although flying so close to her was illegal, she discovered that there was no easy way to identify and prosecute offenders or protect her privacy.
This short case ‘scenario’ takes readers through the inconsistent and incomplete patchwork of laws and regulations that govern the use of drones for private recreational purposes. Multiple government departments and agencies at the local, state or federal level have some jurisdiction over aspects of drone use or airspace. Yet when it comes to issues of unauthorised surveillance and enforcement, there are serious gaps. The burgeoning popularity and technical capabilities of drones means that the number of incidents is only set to grow while regulators are still ill-equipped to respond. Whose problem should this be? And how should they set about addressing it?
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