Pilot - - CONTENTS -

News, views and com­ments

I have been ir­ri­tated by the num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions con­tact­ing me be­cause of the new GDPR reg­u­la­tions, but have had noth­ing from the CAA which holds and makes pub­licly avail­able all sorts of in­for­ma­tion I re­gard as per­sonal. This in­for­ma­tion is passed on to other, third par­ties, who then ex­ploit it for com­mer­cial gain. Us­ing these com­bi­na­tions of data sources, any­one − in­clud­ing the trou­ble­mak­ers sur­round­ing our air­field − can track, record and at­tribute ev­ery air­craft move­ment. So, I wrote to both scan­ner app com­pany Flightrada­r24, which pro­vides real-time air­craft track­ing on your smart­phone, and to the CAA. In both cases, I told them I was re­fus­ing them per­mis­sion to use my per­sonal data.

Flightrada­r24 pro­vides, amongst other things, an app which any­one can use to see where I have been fly­ing and a mass of per­sonal data around that. They told me that for $500 I could have a lim­ited amount of in­for­ma­tion re­moved from their sys­tem im­me­di­ately but that the track­ing in­for­ma­tion would still be dis­played. To be fair, they said that if I pro­vided proof of own­er­ship they would re­move this in­for­ma­tion af­ter an un­spec­i­fied time for free. How­ever, I would still have my flights tracked!

The re­sponse from the CAA in­formed me that the right to have my data re­moved from their sys­tems was ‘not ab­so­lute’. The let­ter said:

‘The right to era­sure does not ap­ply if pro­cess­ing is nec­es­sary to com­ply with a le­gal obli­ga­tion. The CAA is re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the UK Reg­is­ter of Civil Air­craft in ac­cor­dance with the Air Nav­i­ga­tion Or­der 2016 (ANO). The ANO de­tails what in­for­ma­tion must be held against each air­craft and this in­cludes the name and ad­dress of the reg­is­tered owner of the air­craft. The CAA is also re­quired by the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity Reg­u­la­tions 1991 to make the UK Reg­is­ter avail­able for in­spec­tion by any per­son.’

They of­fered me the op­por­tu­nity to have my home ad­dress re­moved, but I would have to sup­ply an­other ad­dress (which would be pub­licly avail­able).

I have al­ways been un­com­fort­able about G-INFO, hav­ing wit­nessed many (mostly un­founded) com­plaints about fly­ers which were clearly fa­cil­i­tated by the G-INFO data­base. I think the data it con­tains is at least as pri­vate as car own­er­ship in­for­ma­tion, yet I don’t see the DVLA pub­lish­ing any data on car own­er­ship. I can only imag­ine the furore if this was sug­gested. The DVLA main­tains a record of your car and only re­leases the in­for­ma­tion where there is a rea­son­able rea­son to do so. So why do air­craft own­ers and op­er­a­tors have to ac­cept the fla­grant abuse of our sim­i­larly pri­vate in­for­ma­tion by the CAA?

I re­ally do hope that the CAA can be per­suaded to take an­other look at this and treat us in the same man­ner as the car owner. Can Pi­lot do any­thing to help change their minds? Andy Haigh, pi­lot and air­field op­er­a­tor, May­pole Air­field

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