I think as a society, in all our space, whether it’s airspace or cyberspace, we’re having a discussion as a society about our privacy rights
So where does all this leave you and me and our right not to be spied on by eyes in the sky?
“Right now there’s not a whole lot that an individual can do to prevent this from happening,” said Berger.
“There’s still a big question in the law as to where do our privacy rights begin and end and what are our privacy rights in a public place, and what are public places?”
Right now, a drone flying past your window is little different from someone looking in while walking by on the sidewalk. That applies even if your window is on the 37th floor. Even if a drone is recording – as long as you’re not naked – “if it’s for your [the operator’s] own personal use, the laws as we have them in Canada, the privacy laws anyway, wouldn’t apply.”
So far there’s no case law around this simply because there haven’t been any high-stakes lawsuits, said Berger. But the issue of private surveillance, whether it’s drones or hidden cameras, is being debated in the legal community.
“I think as a society, in all our space, whether it’s airspace or cyberspace, we’re having a discussion as a society about our privacy rights,” he said.
Berger said when he heard about Galway’s encounter, he “expected some people to call for legislation and regulation so that people can’t do this anymore.
“I think that will be the initial reaction. If that’s what happens, then it will only be left to the state to be able to do it, and you will have Big Brother 1984-style. I think some people may argue there should be some ability for the public to still have some ability to play in that field.”