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I am interested in the answer in general, but also particularly interested in how Western Australia’s Public Transport Authority Regulations 2003 section 13 would apply:

A person who acts in such a way as to cause a nuisance or annoyance to persons in or on a conveyance or a facility commits an offence.

According to an article by Australia’s national broadcaster, Backyard skinny-dippers lack effective laws to keep peeping drones at bay:

Ms Hyatt had returned home last week from an evening gym session, undressed and jumped into her secluded backyard pool.

She thought she was "skinny-dipping" in private. Within minutes, though, a small camera-mounted quadcopter drone was hovering close overhead.

Ms Hyatt is certain it was watching her …

If it happens again she can't prove it is the same drone — as would be needed to apply nuisance, harassment and stalking laws — nor the intentions of the operator.

With no regulatory agency, no tort of privacy, (nearly) no nuisance and inapplicable harassment and stalking laws, there isn't much law when it comes to peeping Toms using drones around our homes and private spaces.

Although this article mainly discusses drones, it is clear that it is really about recording using drones. As far as I can tell, the legal analysis should also apply to other forms of recording (or at least other forms of recording that are less intrusive than drones). This makes it sound like the answer is (nearly) “no”, at least in Australia.

But a Western Australian PTA Transit Officer (these officers have similar powers to police on public transport, so they surely receive legal training) told me the answer is “yes”.

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  • I'm not sure why you've quoted the PTAR as a drone is neither a conveyance ("a road bus, ferry or railway train involved in the provision of a public passenger transport service by the Authority") nor a facility ("a place associated with the provision of a public passenger transport service provided by the Authority"). Unless you mean the drones are controlled from them..? – Rock Ape Mar 30 at 14:08
  • @RockApe I am wondering whether this conduct would be considered a nuisance generally, and in particular whether it would be an offence under the PTAR. The ABC story I quoted is probably not the best source, but it is the best one I can remember seeing. – Brian Drake Mar 30 at 14:10
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    @RockApe When I say “this conduct”, I mean photographing or recording a person by any means, drones or otherwise. With respect to drones, the PTAR could apply if the person being photographed or recorded was in or on a conveyance or facility. – Brian Drake Mar 30 at 14:24
  • Your question asks for the very legal definitions of "nuisance" and "annoyance" applicable in Western AU, and then seeing if taking photos/videos can be covered by those. Where is your research on the definitions? Why do you research drone filming before that? – Greendrake Apr 1 at 6:39
  • @Greendrake As far as I can tell, the terms “nuisance” and “annoyance” are like the term “reasonable”: they do not really have a meaning until they are applied to some context (like photographing/recording). So what I want is a source that discusses the definitions of these terms in the context of photographing/recording, and the only source I can remember seeing is the article I cited, which just happens to be about drone filming. – Brian Drake Apr 2 at 10:35

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