A Call to Reduce Privacy-by-Design into Practice to Tackle Privacy Risks by Drones and IOT


Is it high time for technology-driven regulation?

Unmanned areal vehicles (UAVs) become a commodity with an exponential increase in their use for commerce, agriculture, industry, law enforcement and recreation. As the number of UAVs grow rapidly, safety, security and privacy risks come along, and traditional enforcement efforts fall short.

The need to reduce the vague privacy-by-design principle into action, by setting appropriate mandatory technological requirements is ever so needed.

Mandatory sensors who would keep UAVs away from aircrafts, mandatory signaling of location, cameras with location-based limitations, are just examples of technology in the service of regulation.

Drones Regulation in Israel

On January 3rd, the Science and Technology Committee of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), held a hearing about UAVs’ regulation, industry challenges, and risks.

The hearing included members of the Israeli UAVs industry, representatives of government ministries and law enforcement agencies, entrepreneurs and various other stakeholders.

In a two and a half hours session, many challenges and risks were raised, including safety regulations, export restrictions, allocation of communication frequencies, cyber threats, the use of drones for commercial, agricultural, law enforcement and rescue purposes, as well as privacy concerns.

Our Position

We attended the hearing as members of the Public Privacy Council. The Council advises the Justice Department on privacy legislative and regulatory issues.

We stated our view about the Protection of Privacy Act versus current and future risks, and emphasized that the current law, which has not gone through any substantial change for decades, lacks the ability to tackle modern privacy risks without blocking innovation.

We further indicated our concern of the erosion to privacy in public spaces caused by UAVs and the growing use of UAVs by government agencies, as issues that need special regulatory attention.

We further warned that traditional regulation and enforcement will fail to address modern privacy concerns that new technologies such as UAVs present. We offered our view that technology-driven regulation, manifested by implementing privacy-by-design principles into the law, will serve the cause better.

We also noted that Israel should follow the footsteps of the US and EU, and introduce a mandatory requirement to appoint privacy officers, as an adequate self-enforcement measure.

Further deliberations on drones’ regulation by the Science and Technology Committee and government ministries are expected this year.

See additional information about IOT and drones regulation on our IOT Knowledge Center