“Changes to the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 will make airside areas of Australia's major airports more secure by paving the way for new and enhanced security screening,” Mr Chester said.
“Specifically, airports will be able to randomly select people, together with their vehicles and belongings, for screening when they are working inside the secure airside area of an Australian airport to make sure they do not have prohibited weapons in their possession.
“The changes are the first stage of the Government's plans to strengthen airside security by mitigating the insider threat. In addition to screening of airport workers, the Government will also introduce stronger access controls for airside areas and security awareness training for airport and airline staff.The Government has also quietly released its Response to the 2014 Eyes in the Sky: Inquiry into drones and the regulation of air safety and privacy report by the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs.
That response states
On 14 July 2014, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs tabled the Committee’s report of its inquiry into the use of RPAS.
The Committee’s report, entitled “Eyes in the sky”, has made six recommendations in relation to safety and privacy aspects of RPAS operations in Australia.
The Government agrees with Recommendations 1 and 2 of the report and has identified measures by which the recommendations can be put into action.
The Government does not support Recommendation 3 and specifically the establishment of a separate tort on privacy.
The Government notes Recommendations 4, 5 and 6 of the Committee’s report and will continue to monitor developments on the use of RPAS as they relate to the Commonwealth’s surveillance device legislative regime.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is responsible for implementing Recommendation 1 and the safety related aspects of Recommendation 6, as well as working with the Attorney-General’s Department to implement Recommendation 2.
The Attorney-General’s Department is responsible for Recommendations 3, 4 and 5, the privacy related aspects of Recommendation 6, and for working with CASA in the implementation of Recommendation 2.Specifics are
Recommendation 1 - The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), broaden future consultation processes it undertakes in relation to remotely piloted aircraft regulations so as to include industry and recreational users from a non-aviation background. Future consultation processes should identify and seek comment from peak bodies in industries where remotely piloted aircraft use is likely to expand such as real estate, photography, media, and agriculture, amongst others.
Response - The Government agrees with this recommendation. CASA will be consulting with industry and the community on a future modernisation review of the RPAS regulations commencing early next year. This review will take into account work on RPAS by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is responsible for the development of international aviation safety standards and recommended practices, as well as the views of industry and community stakeholders.
Recommendation 2 - The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), include information on Australia’s privacy laws with the safety pamphlet CASA currently distributes to vendors of remotely piloted aircraft. The pamphlet should highlight remotely piloted aircraft users’ responsibility not to monitor, record or disclose individuals’ private activities without their consent and provide links to further information on Australia’s privacy laws.
Response - The Government agrees with this recommendation. CASA and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner have collaborated to produce a plain English privacy statement which will be included on all future print runs of the Flying with control? brochure and the Don’t go there brochure which raises awareness of RPAS use near emergency situations. The wording will say “Respect personal privacy. Don’t record or photograph people without their consent – this may breach state laws”. Copies of relevant RPAS brochures are available on the CASA website.
Recommendation 3 - The Committee recommends that the Australian Government consider introducing legislation by July 2015 which provides protection against privacy-invasive technologies (including remotely piloted aircraft), with particular emphasis on protecting against intrusions on a person’s seclusion or private affairs. The Committee recommends that in considering the type and extent of protection to be afforded, the Government consider giving effect to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s proposal for the creation of a tort of serious invasion of privacy, or include alternate measures to achieve similar outcomes, with respect to invasive technologies including remotely piloted aircraft.
Response - The Government does not support a separate tort of privacy. Introducing a new cause of action would only add to the regulatory burden on business, which is contrary to the government’s commitment to reducing red tape. The common law already provides avenues for individuals to seek redress for the torts of trespass, nuisance, defamation and breach of confidence. The states and territories also have their own legislation. In circumstances where the Privacy Act applies to regulate some of the activities of an RPA (for example, where an RPA is being operated by an entity covered by the Privacy Act and in doing so collects personal information), an individual who considers their privacy has been breached may complain to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
Recommendation 4 - The Committee recommends that, at the late-2014 meeting of COAG’s Law, Crime and Community Safety Council, the Australian Government initiate action to simplify Australia’s privacy regime by introducing harmonised Australia-wide surveillance laws that cover the use of listening devices, optical surveillance devices, data surveillance devices, and tracking devices. The unified regime should contain technology neutral definitions of the kinds of surveillance devices, and should not provide fewer protections in any state or territory than presently exist.
Recommendation 5 - The Committee recommends that the Australian Government consider the measures operating to regulate the use or potential use of RPAs by Commonwealth law enforcement agencies for surveillance purposes in circumstances where that use may give rise to issues regarding a person's seclusion or private affairs. This consideration should involve both assessment of the adequacy of presently existing internal practices and procedures of relevant Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, as well as the adequacy of relevant provisions of the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 (Cth) relating but not limited to warrant provisions. Further, the Committee recommends that the Australian Government initiate action at COAG’s Law, Crime and Community Safety Council to harmonise what may be determined to be an appropriate and approved use of RPAs by law enforcement agencies across jurisdictions.
Response - The Government notes the Committee’s recommendations. Traditionally, the Commonwealth has had a limited role in the enforcement of state and territory criminal law. The Government considers it appropriate that states and territories continue to modify their own surveillance device laws, if necessary. At a federal level the Government considers that the Commonwealth Surveillance Devices Act 2004 (Cth) strikes an appropriate balance between the protection of privacy and the ability to investigate serious offences. The Act adequately regulates the use of drone borne optical and listening devices by law enforcement. The Act is technologically neutral with the result that surveillance through an RPAS is only lawful if conducted within the same legal parameters as traditional optical surveillance devices. The Government will continue to monitor developments in RPAS usage by the general public and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the Act continues to provide appropriate protections at the Commonwealth level.
Recommendation 6 - The Committee recommends that the Australian Government coordinate with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Australian Privacy Commissioner to review the adequacy of the privacy and air safety regimes in relation to remotely piloted aircraft, highlighting any regulatory issues and future areas of action. This review should be publicly released by June 2016.
Response - The Government notes the Committee’s recommendation. Issues of air safety and privacy are however regulated by separate means, through separate legislation and by separate Government agencies. It is appropriate then that reviews of the adequacy of the air safety and the privacy regimes are conducted by the agency with expertise and responsibility for each area: CASA for air safety and the Attorney-General’s Department, in consultation with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, for privacy matters. Each agency will, however, have appropriate regard for the findings of the other’s review in any matters where issues are identified that may affect both air safety and privacy. As indicated in response to Recommendation 1, CASA will be consulting with industry and the community on a future modernisation review of the RPAS regulations commencing early next year. This review will take into account work on RPAS by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is responsible for the development of international aviation safety standards and recommended practices, as well as the views of industry and community stakeholders. CASA will also issue a suite of advisory circulars to provide more guidance to the industry in areas such as RPAS training, licensing, safety management and maintenance over the remainder of the current financial year. The Attorney-General’s Department will continue to liaise with CASA as required, in consultation with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, on issues regarding privacy and air safety in relation to RPAS, with a view to addressing particular regulatory issues and any emerging areas of action.