Drones are a reasonably new mainstream device and are only set to increase in popularity as a unit’s price continues to drop. This creates many privacy concerns as these drones can be flown from 5km away while recording (and streaming) 4k footage. Lawmakers around the world are struggling to keep up with the advancing technology. And while at least 143 countries have enacted some form of drone-related regulation, many experts contend that current drone regulation is insufficient to deal with the threat of widespread surveillance.
To shine a light on how drones are being regulated worldwide, Surfshark compiled data on drone legislation around the world – and then created a series of maps.
To create these maps, Surfshark collated drone legislation for 210 countries from sources inc UAV Coach, RAND Corporation, UAV Systems International, and the Library of Congress, among others.
Drone laws worldwide range from outright bans of the technology to relatively unrestricted flight. Still, most legislation focuses on how the drone is being operated and does not address nuances related to privacy.
Surfshark aims to support the effort to establish an international regulatory framework for drone legislation. With this study, the team wants to bring transparency and clarity to an essential issue to anyone concerned about their privacy (offline or online) in 2020 and beyond.
Drone privacy laws around the World
The global drone industry is projected to double over the next five years, from $22.5 billion in 2020.
• Drone startups in countries like Ukraine have spearheaded testing efforts for drone delivery systems.
• An estimated one in every seven Americans has flown a drone.
• The world’s first drone pizza delivery occurred in Whangaparaoa, New Zealand, in 2016.
• Brazilian company iFood recently was granted permission to use drones for food delivery in the city of Campinas.
• Israel is one of the largest exporters of drones to South America.
• Pilots in Ghana are using drones to disinfect public areas during the COVID-19 crisis.
• Several prefectures in Japan are training drones to help assist in public disaster response efforts.
Drone privacy laws in North America
• According to police in Ensenada, Mexico, one single surveillance drone has led to 500 arrests in the city and a 10% drop in the overall crime rate.
• Of the 1.8 million drones registered with the U.S. FAA, 71% are hobbyist drones, and 29% are commercial UAVs.
Drone privacy laws in South America
• Amazonian tribes in Brazil are using drones to track deforestation in the country.
• A tech company called Hugo recently began using drones to deliver hospital supplies in El Salvador.
• In Chile water rescue services use drones to deliver life jackets to people stuck in dangerous areas.
Drone privacy laws in Europe
Drone privacy laws in Africa
• Flying a drone in Ghana without a permit can result in a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
• The first African Drone and Data Academy opened in Malawi in 2020, which will focus on the use of drones for humanitarian purposes.
• In Rwanda, the use of drones to deliver medical supplies has cut delivery times from 4 hours to 20 minutes
Drone privacy laws in the Middle East and Central Asia
• China is home to the world’s largest drone manufacturer, DJI, which controls over half of the world drone market share.
• While Iran bans the use of drones by the public, it was one of the first countries to use armed military drones.
• The Malaysian police deployed a fleet of drones for surveillance purposes to help reduce coronavirus spread.
• Dubai, UAE, has been testing passenger taxi drones, aiming to be the first drone taxi system site.
Drone privacy laws in the Rest of Asia and Oceania
• There are some 5,870 licensed drone pilots in Australia.
• New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes make it one of the most popular destinations for drone tourism.
• In Indonesia you have to be 20 years old to fly a drone weighing more than 2 kilos.
• The National Parks Board of Singapore employs 30 drones to monitor park users to ensure they follow COVID-19 guidelines.