Drone privacy concerns continue after police called

The use of drones by real estate agencies is once again in the spotlight after a Sydney agent using one to capture marketing images was reported to police.

The incident happened last week when a Mosman resident spotted the 'quadricopter' flying in front of her top-floor apartment.

The resident contacted police about the situation, but NSW Police's director of public affairs, Strath Gordon, said he understood police had spoken to the real estate agent and he had the appropriate documentation to fly the drone. No offence was established. 

The news comes after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) last week told Real Estate Business it was looking at the possibility of remotely piloted aircraft weighing less than two kilos being allowed to operate to a set of standard conditions for commercial purposes.

Real Estate Instutite of New South Wales (REINSW) president Malcolm Gunning said the REINSW does not have set guidelines in place for this kind of activity. However, recommendations to NSW agents will be made. 

Mr Gunning said agents should be cautious when using any technology that may disrupt someone's privacy. Agents should adopt the right protocol and be respectful of neighbours, he said.  

"Let all neighbours know you will be taking landscape images at a certain time on a certain day. This is courteous and appropriate behaviour,” said Mr Gunning.  

Anthony Toop, managing director at Toop & Toop, which had its drones grounded recently, told Real Estate Business that privacy issues associated with drones can be easily dealt with once it's done professionally. 

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