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About Drones and Law in El Salvador

Access to new technologies brings along situations or conflicts Society never even thought of regulating. Easy access to technology creates us the false notion that its use has no limit, and that the right to enjoy its benefits, is an absolute one. However, it is here when Law plays an important role in Society, regulating the legal implications of the use of new technologies.

The arrival of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (VANT by its initials in Spanish)-as El Salvador’s Civilian Aviation Authority (AAC by its initials in Spanish) Regulation identifies them, giving us the possibility of seeing and recording more than our limited human capabilities allow us to. At an accessible price, drones allow a human to remotely control and pilot an aerial vehicle that records everything in its path. This allows us to be informed of events that occur at a distance, and from a different perspective as they allow us to see what occurs from the height the drone has the ability to fly. Now, ¿only because technology enables it, is it allowed to record with a drone everything an individual wants? ¿What is the limit for the use of this technology?

The first limits are established by the Constitutional rights to personal and familiar Intimacy (Art. 2 Constitution), and to the Inviolability of the Home (Art. 20 Constitution). Although all this may seem logic, many while piloting a drone forget, and fly over third party private property without the owner’s consent, and on occasions record what occurs on the neighbor’s terrace party. El Salvador’s AAC regulation, protects and develops these constitutional rights when prohibiting drones to fly over private property without the titleholder’s authorization. This is just one of the many regulations applicable to drones, as El Salvador’s Civilian Aviation Authority regulates other aspects.

Although El Salvador is a developing country, it is not unaffected by the legal implications brought by the use of new technologies. The Civilian Aviation Authority establishes a drone regulation that is enforceable to those that infringe it, by the imposition of the different sanctions established by the Civilian Aviation Law. Among the aspects regulated by the regulation in comment, is having to register drones with a weight equivalent or superior to 2 Kgs, as well as the Operator (person controlling it), the prohibition of flying over public areas with concentrations of people, transporting dangerous substances with drones, operating them beyond the pilot’s eyesight, and more.

Mariana Fermina Bolaños MeardiFermina Bolaños Meardi
García & Bodán
El Salvador