A Legal Approach to Civilian Use of Drones in Europe. Privacy and Personal Data Protection Concerns

di Cristina Pauner e Jorge Viguri 

Drones are a burgeoning industry whose exponential growth over the next years is unanimously accepted. Their amazing and countless usages are a key element to be considered as a revolutionary product as well as their positive economic impact. As highly versatile and productive assets, drones will be able to play any type of commercial, personal or even public role in the future.


Drones are a growth industry evolving quickly from military to civilian uses however, they have the potential to pose a serious risk to security, privacy and data protection. After a first stage focused on safety issues, Europe is facing the challenge to develop a regulatory framework for drones integration into the airspace system while safeguarding the guarantees of fundamental rights and civil liberties.

This paper analyses the potential privacy and data protection risks related to civil drones’ applications and looks at the major doctrinal, institutional and legislative attempts but also proposes technological and social solutions to mitigate them.

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