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Legality of recording ATC or other pilots?

When doing in-flight videos, especially with an externally mounted camera, I record the sound track with a little £60 mp3 recorder directly from the aircraft intercom. This is then dropped into the video editor, replacing the (useless) ex-camera sound track. Obviously I take care to start both at the same time (within less than a second).

Then I edit the sound track to remove irrelevant stuff, personal conversation (including me talking to myself – the first sign of madness ) and any ATC/pilot exchanges concerning other aircraft which are identifiable and are likely to be embarrassing to the pilot (sadly, too many of those on every flight).

But I leave in there radio talk which is a part of the purpose of the video i.e. relevant to the flight and educational to others. (I don’t do videos to become even more infamous )

Unfortunately, in the UK at least, this is illegal…

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

…but no one has ever been prosecuted for it. Proceed as you were.

Why do you think it illegal?

UK, United Kingdom

Why do you think it illegal?

As with many other things aviation wise, this is a country specific topic. In my country, publishing recorded communications without the consent of the recorded persons constitutes a violation of article 10 of our constitution. Punishable, depending on the circumstances, with up to five years in prison (I don’t think that anyone actually went to prison because of that, but we really value our privacy!)

EDDS - Stuttgart

what_next wrote:

As with many other things aviation wise, this is a country specific topic. In my country, publishing recorded communications without the consent of the recorded persons constitutes a violation of article 10 of our constitution. Punishable, depending on the circumstances, with up to five years in prison (I don’t think that anyone actually went to prison

I can confirm that, I actually caught an exchange at an international airport where a flight instructor and student really messed things up – by messing things up I mean:

1) entered the control zone without contact to the tower
2) lined up on a 4 mile final without contact
3) backtracked along the active runway causing traffic following to need to go around
4) got lost at the apron
5) missed 3 calls to turn onto a parking spot.

As indicated, this was a student with an instructor at an international airport….

I thought it was so shocking, I posted it on Youtube, I was then told to take it down by employees of the airport it concerned, even though they had done nothing wrong. The video is still there for my own entertainment, I just made it private – rather that than have the airport breathing down my neck…..

Last Edited by Steve6443 at 11 Jun 19:23
EDL*, Germany

In the UK, not only can you not record ATC, you can’t even listen to ATC – or any other radio comms, unless they are intended to be heard by you. The same goes for any other radio transmissions. Clearly not the easiest to enforce, but that is the law. Section 48 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006.

Last Edited by Jarvis at 12 Jun 02:38

Have there been any prosecutions, in the GA context?

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Jarvis wrote:

you can’t even listen to ATC – or any other radio comms, unless they are intended to be heard by you

So how would you know the communication is for you unless you listen to them all? I assume you must be paraphrasing.

UK, United Kingdom

Fenland_Flyer wrote:

So how would you know the communication is for you unless you listen to them all? I assume you must be paraphrasing.

Strictly speaking Javis didn’t say the communication should be for you but intended to be heard by you. It would not be difficult to argue that if you are monitoring a frequency you have been assigned by ATC or which is otherwise appropriate for the flight, then the communications are intended to be heard by you.

Last Edited by Airborne_Again at 12 Jun 08:37
ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Interception and disclosure of messages

(1)A person commits an offence if, otherwise than under the authority of a designated person—
(a)he uses wireless telegraphy apparatus with intent to obtain information as to the contents, sender or addressee of a message (whether sent by means of wireless telegraphy or not) of which neither he nor a person on whose behalf he is acting is an intended recipient, or
(b)he discloses information as to the contents, sender or addressee of such a message.

@Peter
I see nothing in Section 48 to prohibit receiving, recording and subsequent disclosure of a message if you are an intended recipient of that message. Arguably, all aircrew are intended recipients of all messages broadcast on all aviation frequencies which they are licensed to use, but that might be a question for Counsel’s opinion.

Last Edited by Jacko at 12 Jun 08:52
Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom
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