The Legal Challenges
For Drone Detection and Counter Drone Solutions
The below information is provided as a guide only as legislation in each State of Australia can vary as can the impacts of Federal legislation.
Aircraft vs Drone
The Civil Aviation Safety Act states an “Aircraft means any machine or craft that can derive support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the air, other than the reactions of the air against the earth’s surface”.
Based on this definition, a drone is legally an aircraft and any action taken against it could be considered the same as taking action against a manned aircraft.
Interfere with an aircraft, Interfere with the safe operation of an aircraft, unlawful interference with aviation and unlawful seizure of an aircraft.
Drone Detection Legal Challenges
The use of a drone detection device could be considered a ‘data surveillance device’ and it may be a criminal offence to use one without authority.
Possible Offences: Use data surveillance device
If a detection device can also access information held on the drone or the drone controller (computers by definition) it could be considered computer hacking.
Possible Offence: Computer Hacking
Counter Drone Legal Challenges
There are several issues with counter drone technology and they are briefly explained below.
Radio Frequency and GPS Jamming
Australian Communications and Media authority (ACMA) is the government body responsible for the regulation of broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and telecommunications. The Radiocommunications Act provides for the management of the radiofrequency spectrum and creates several offences for operating Radio Frequency (RF) or GPS jamming equipment with authority.
Possible Offences: Offences could include the possession of equipment without licence, the use and possession of a nonstandard device, the operation of a prohibited device such as GPS jammer, the interference with radio communications likely to affect the safe operation of an aircraft, and disruption of communications generally.
Protocol Manipulation (Spoofing)
The use of protocol manipulation, or spoofing technology, involves the manipulation of the communication protocol between the controller (pilot) and the drone. By definition the drone and control device could be considered ‘computers’ and any manipulation could be considered ‘computer hacking’ which is a criminal offence.
Possible Offences: Computer Hacking
Legal Advice is Essential
Counter Drone Solution’s legal professionals are across the counter drone legislative challenges which ensures our clients only purchase products that are legally usable.