National

Guidelines eyed for drone operators recording video in residential areas

Kyodo

The government is drafting guidelines to prevent videos shot by drones flying in residential areas from infringing on people’s privacy when posted online, the communications ministry said Thursday.

While drones have been increasingly used at construction sites and in disaster areas, people are increasingly buying them for recreational purposes. Some recent incidents have sparked controversy over unregulated flights, including one in which a drone landed on the roof of the prime minister’s office.

According to the draft presented by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry to a panel of experts, drone users would be asked not to point camcorders affixed to the remote-controlled gadget at houses, so as not to record footage of the interiors.

Users would also be requested to refrain from streaming video of residential areas live online, and to blur car license plates.

The outline also calls on Internet service providers to respond to requests from people filmed to delete the videos.

At the meeting, the panel said the guidelines should not be regarded as regulations. It also called for a briefer version to get the message across to children. The ministry hopes to finish the guidelines this summer.

Japan has been considering regulations on drone flights since a drone with traces of cesium was found in April on the prime minister’s office in central Tokyo, raising concerns that such devices could be used for terrorism. A man from Fukui Prefecture has been indicted in the case.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested last week for suggesting online that he might fly a drone during a festival at Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo. Flying a drone isn’t itself illegal, but police alleged the teen could have interfered with the running of the festival.

The teenager had been chided by police several times this month for flying or attempting to fly a drone near popular tourist spots.