The Drone and Model Aircraft Code

For flying drones and model aircraft of 20kg or less outdoors in the UK
The Drone and Model Aircraft Code published and last updated dates
From: The Civil Aviation Authority (opens in a new window)
Published: October 2019
Last updated: October 2019

Protecting people’s privacy (Points 16 to 21)

Making sure that you don’t invade anyone’s privacy when you’re out flying. What you should and should not do with photos and videos.

16. Respect other people and their privacy

If you use a camera with your drone or model aircraft, you must respect other people’s privacy when taking pictures or video.

If you take a video or photo of someone where they can expect privacy, such as inside their home or garden, you're likely to be breaking data protection laws.

It is against the law to take photographs or video for criminal or terrorist purposes.

If your drone or model aircraft has a camera, any photos or video you take may be covered by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

17. Make sure you know what your camera can do and the kind of images it can take

Knowing this will help to reduce the risk of taking photos or recording videos that invade privacy.

Make sure you know:

  • what quality you can record
  • how close your camera can zoom in
  • if you can start and stop recording when you are flying

18. Make sure you can be clearly seen when you’re out flying

This means people will know who’s responsible for your drone or model aircraft.

19. Let people know before you start recording

In some cases, this will be easy. For example, if you’re taking a photo of family and friends at a family barbeque.

In other cases, this will be less practical, so you must be careful to respect everyone’s right to privacy.

Remember, you must never fly over organised crowds of more than 1,000 people.

20. Think before sharing photos or video

Avoid sharing anything that could be unfair or harmful to anyone.

Think carefully about who could see your photos and videos – especially before posting them on social media. Apply the same common-sense approach that you would with images or video recorded on a smartphone or digital camera.

21. Keep photos and videos secure

Store images safely. Delete anything you don’t need.

If you record images for commercial use, you’ll need to meet further specific requirements as a data controller.