State seeks tough laws on use of drones

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) wants Parliament to approve tough rules on the use of drones. PHOTO | FILE | 254 BREAKING NEWS

Drone operators will be banned from using imaging devices to conduct surveillance on or take a picture of a person without written consent if Parliament approves new regulations.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) wants Parliament to approve tough rules on the use of drones and other unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the country.

The proposals have been tabled in Parliament by Leader of majority Aden Duale.

“A UAS operator or owner shall not use a UAS equipped with an imaging device to record an image of privately owned or leased real property or of the owner, tenant, occupant, invitee or licensee of such property with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image in violation of such persons reasonable expectation of privacy without his or her written consent,” the rules state.


Under the Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2019, a person is presumed to have a reasonable expectation of privacy on his or her privately owned real property if he or she is not observable by persons located at ground level in a place where they have a legal right to be, regardless of whether he or she is observable from the air with the use of UAS.

The new regulations, however, provide that a UAS equipped with an imaging device may, with the approval of KCAA, be used for the purposes of mapping and evaluating the earth’s surface, including terrain and surface water bodies and other features and investigation of forests and forest management.

It may also be used in search and rescue, and investigation of vegetation and wildlife. The rules compel the owner or operator of a UAS equipped with imaging device to comply with any other law relating to protection of privacy or data.

“A UAS operator or owner shall not operate a UAS in a manner that constitutes nuisance to the public, a person or to the property of another,” states the rules currently under scrutiny by the Committee on Delegated Legislation.

They prohibit a person from operating a UAS at over 400 feet above ground level and within 50 metres of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the UAS except with the authorisation of KCAA.


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