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Referred to as “drones” by hobbyists, unmanned aerial systems/vehicles (UAS or UAV) have significantly evolved from their early days as military equipment to today’s commercial applications. With the advent of certain technologies at reasonable prices, UAVs are now typically equipped with sophisticated satellite global positioning systems, high-resolution cameras, real-time surveillance, obstacle avoidance technologies, and robotics.

The information gathered by UAVs, however, is not selective—their sensors and cameras capture information about the entire area inspected, regardless of its relation to the UAV’s primary purpose. Thus a host of issues may arise when data is incidentally collected.

This article focuses on the ownership of that data and the liabilities companies may face when capturing, storing, and transmitting such data.

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