Drones carrying CCTV cameras to start patrolling sensitive forest areas

Secretary of State signs dispatch to run till end October

Drones fitted with CCTV cameras are to start patrolling sensitive forest areas – the idea being to facilitate detection of any kind of suspicious activity, and thus protect against the habitual summer wildfire scourge.

Secretary of State Isabel Oneto has signed a dispatch which authorizes the use of nine portable CCTV systems by drones, to be used in specific locations, particularly areas with a history of fires, during the years 2016-2021, and those covered by any daily heat warnings issued by IPMA (meteorological institute).

A statement put out by the ministry of internal administration explains that due to data protection legislation, “the system of videovigilance must observe the following conditions:

  • It is not permitted to capture or record sound
  • Use of cameras has to be publicised in advance
  • Drones have to be operated at an average altitude of 100 metres from the ground
  • Systems have to cease vigilance as soon as means of response are actioned, in case of a fire
  • The right to private life has to be safeguarded by the capturing of any images
  • Communications between district operational commands must be guaranteed while drones are being used
  • All operational anomalies must be registered, and preserved for a minimum period of two years”.

The dispatch comes after Interior Minister José Luís Carneiro warned arsonists that authorities mean business.