France’s CNIL, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, has opined on the “Global Security law” and use of drones by law enforcement.

General takeaways:
  • Use airborne cameras only if (i) strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose pursued and (ii) proportionate. You must first determine that no less intrusive method is available.
  • Retain information only as necessary.
  • A general justification for “law enforcement” or “protection of public buildings” is not sufficient.
  • For onboard cameras – blurring images is necessary but is not enough. Make sure that image analysis techniques (denoising etc) are not able to restore the original image.
  • Consider blocking retransmission of images according to certain flight characteristics (e.g. altitude, zoom level, area flown over etc) or even the characteristics of the storage of the images (e.g. possibility or not or using an internal storage memory, of inserting a removable storage device etc).
  • If the use case does not require the collection of personal information – e.g. “regulation of transport flows” then – data should be anonymized.
  • Don’t record sound; don’t use facial recognition.

Read the full text of the guidelines.