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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by prelator View Post
I think you guys are taking that language too literally. It's just the AMA's stance on the whole privacy debate thing. Basically as long as you're not using an RC plane to intentionally spy on people, you're fine. I really don't think they're talking about incidental capture of images of buildings and people just flying around taking scenic aerial footage.
AMA is going above and beyond the law with this stance. Recent Supreme Court rulings have basically said you have no expectation of privacy when you're out in open fields and on the street and possibly even in your back yard if you don't have a sufficiently high fence.

Recent rulings have said for example that your 4th ammendment rights haven't been violated if the police put a camera out to watch your property, as long as the camera is only able to observe the things that an officer standing there could observe... so, you could put a camera at eye level looking into someone's back yard, but you couldn't put a camera really high in the tree looking over the top of an otherwise opaque fence. However, as UAVs become more common, that will change - the expectation that you won't be observed from the air will be seen as less and less 'reasonable' over time. Then the fun will start...
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Don't think this has been pointed out ... but who defines what "high resolution" means? I can promise you that the downlink from my on board camera is NOT high resolution and given I don't own (yet) a gopro or similar I don't think this impacts me what so ever. That is my position that I bet I could defend.
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:10 PM
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Ya, I don't think most will argue that normal flight camera view or recording such is high
enough resolution to apply, however a lot of us do use HD cameras and they're getting
better and better all the time.

ian
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:11 PM
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The law doesn't define high resolution - there is actually no clear definition of HD .. a 420P image can be considered HD .. while a 4000x4000 Satellite image could be considered low resolution.

Again, remember that this is within the AMA and they can set whatever they want. State and Federal law will always supersede - this is more their way to distance themselves in case there are any law-suits which they might can't defend.

In this way they can always say that they distanced themselves and they are not responsible for the behavior of individual members. In reality, nobody will really follow these rules.
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasmine2501 View Post
AMA is going above and beyond the law with this stance. Recent Supreme Court rulings have basically said you have no expectation of privacy when you're out in open fields and on the street and possibly even in your back yard if you don't have a sufficiently high fence.

Recent rulings have said for example that your 4th ammendment rights haven't been violated if the police put a camera out to watch your property, as long as the camera is only able to observe the things that an officer standing there could observe... so, you could put a camera at eye level looking into someone's back yard, but you couldn't put a camera really high in the tree looking over the top of an otherwise opaque fence. However, as UAVs become more common, that will change - the expectation that you won't be observed from the air will be seen as less and less 'reasonable' over time. Then the fun will start...
That really is the differance. The UAV can be invasive. I have seen no examples of FPV aerial surveillance in videos and hope I don't. This is an alarm over nothing.
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:18 PM
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Again, remember that this is within the AMA and they can set whatever they want.
And that's fine , right up to the point that the only way to comply with the
law (new amateur modelling exemption) is by following the the rules of the only recognized
"community based organization", the AMA. The AMA's rule becomes de-facto law.

ian
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:20 PM
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I have seen no examples of FPV aerial surveillance in videos and hope I don't.
Can you point us to the legal definition of "aerial surveillance"?

ian
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Daemon View Post
And that's fine , right up to the point that the only way to comply with the
law (new amateur modelling exemption) is by following the the rules of the only recognized
"community based organization", the AMA. The AMA's rule becomes de-facto law.

ian
Yeah if it was just a CYA thing I wouldn't care so much, but AMA rules may end up being similar to EPA recommendations, which are technically not laws, until you break them.
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:26 PM
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Can you point us to the legal definition of "aerial surveillance"?

ian
Are you looking for things to worry about? Just look up the definition of surveillance and then add aerial.
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:26 PM
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Well.. we don't know yet - nobody does - the law is maybe in preparation but until the publication we don't know what is fact and what is rumor.

And again, what do you want to do against it?

Seriously! We tried the last two months to put something together. We had pretty high up people on board with tons of knowledge and how to deal with the FAA and Government. A lot of people spent a lot of time in talking and preparing stuff with what result??

We can't go to the FAA if we are not ready to make commitments - and that commitment means that we have the restriction of VLOS - there is no way out of this.

There are far more powerful players in the game and AMA is the least of your concerns.
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:37 PM
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I'm not talking about future FAA laws. I do expect them to be more onerous than
the modelling exemption though based on what we've seen of the process.
The exemption itself exists as law today.
The "community based organization" language exists in that law today.
It's pretty clear that AMA is positioning themselves to be that organization
(have been since they first pitched it to congress), and it
sounds like the FAA is finally warming up to the idea. If this happens, then AMA's
rules effectively become the law. That's why it matters what AMA's rules are today.

Obviously the the way to fight it is, the same way that was done to get rid of
the buddy box rule. Perhaps if people seriously questioned the AMA as to why they
removed one onerous rule, and added a new one that could be much worse.
Or we could just pretend it doesn't matter and hope everyone else
interprets that language in the most positive light.

ian
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 06:58 PM
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I'd still like to hear someone articulate a reason the AMA has issued any rule that purports to protect the "privacy" of non-members. Why are my so-called representatives implementing a rule to protect the privacy interests (which don't legally exist) of people who are non-members? Even if you can read 550 very narrowly, and say "no big deal, it's about spying which has never happened," I still have not heard a reason why this rule is in the interests of ANY aeromodeler. Is it just to get bad PR off AMA's back? If so, it's an unfair restriction and not in our interests as members. Is there some agency poised to regulate model airplanes because of privacy concerns? The Supreme Court has said there is no such interest.

I just don't understand how this was sneaked in. I voted in that poll and sent comments in to the AMA on the basis of 550 being a policy concerning model airplane safety standards. Who knew privacy issues were even on the table?
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 07:22 PM
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I don't think aerial surveillance should be allowed for sure not for amateur models. Good luck with that windmill battle.
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 07:29 PM
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I don't think aerial surveillance should be allowed for sure not for amateur models. Good luck with that windmill battle.
I think his main point, is the AMA is branching out of "model airplane guidelines".

Something used for covert photography is by it's very nature outside the "model airplane" definition, as it's purpose for flying isn't solely recreation.

So, why is the AMA commenting on privacy issues that only effect aircraft whose definition does not meet "model aircraft"?

I think that was his point, not that we should all be flying into our neighboors backyards, lol.
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bmschulman View Post
Can someone explain to me what interest the AMA has in protecting the privacy interests of non-members? (Especially when the Supreme Court has said there is no such privacy interest.) It's not a safety issue, it's not a radio control issue. How can it be possible to violate AMA policy if my plane has a camera taking pictures -- but be in compliance if the same exact plane, flown the same exact way, does not have a camera?

This goes far beyond AMA's mandate. AMA should be protecting its members; now it is on record with a policy saying we would be infringing someone's privacy interests if we take aerial pictures. That doesn't protect members; it hurts members by exposing them to (vexatious) litigation from just about anyone within range of an airborne camera. As far as I know, not even the FAA has a policy against taking non-commercial pictures from an airplane or helicopter. This development is very disturbing even if you read 550 very narrowly because it suggests the AMA is overreaching into legal areas that go far beyond model safety and flying site locations.

Well, I can say I have heard very damn close to from the horses mouth that privacy issues are a huge problem for the FAA with respect to allowing UAS flights, so I would say this may be the AMA smartly getting out in front of that crapstorm and saying "What we do doesn't infringe on the privacy of others".
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