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Law Enforcement Use of Drones to Enforce COVID-19 Measures

Niels Vandezande & Jos Dumortier


The global spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has driven governments to drastic measures to enforce social distancing. Law enforcement agencies are tasked with monitoring citizens’ compliance with those measures. In doing so, agencies are increasingly relying on technology, such as drones. As often with the deployment of new technologies, this may come with concerns for the rights and freedoms of citizens. In this paper, we analyse some concerns rising from the law enforcement use of drones in managing the COVID-19 crisis. After a brief introduction to the topic of this paper and some background on the use of drones during COVID-19 (section I), we provide an overview of various law enforcement uses of drones from which we derive three core use cases (section II). We then analyse each use case for its compliance with the fundamental rights of privacy and data protection (section III), as well as the applicable legislation on the processing of personal data (section IV). Last, we bring these findings together to formulate concluding remarks (section V).
Keywords: Law Enforcement | COVID-19 | Drones | Fundamental Rights of Privacy | Processing of Personal Data


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