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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or "Drone" Data

Minnesota Statutes, section 626.19 addresses UAV or “Drone” data. In addition to the classifications discussed below, this section also outlines many of the other requirements imposed on law enforcement agencies that acquire drones, including public comments, audits, policies, authorized uses, and limitations of use.

Classification and Retention

UAV data are generally private/nonpublic pursuant to section 626.19, subd. 6(a). This private classification means that a data subject can receive copies of the UAV data of themselves, but any other data subject who have not consented to release must be redacted. (Minn. Stat. section 626.19, subd. 6(a)(1))

There are a few exceptions to the general private/nonpublic classification, including:

  • UAV data may be disclosed as necessary in emergency situations under subdivision 3, clause 1. (Minn. Stat. section 626.19, subd, 6(a)(2))
  • Active criminal investigative UAV data are confidential/protected nonpublic. (Minn. Stat. section 13.82, subd. 7)
  • UAV data that are inactive criminal investigative data are generally public, unless there are protected identities. (Minn. Stat. section 13.82, subd. 17)
  • UAV data that are not public data under other provisions of chapter 13 retain that classification. (Minn. Stat. section 626.19, subd. 6(a)(5))

Notwithstanding section 138.17, law enforcement agencies must delete UAV data as soon as possible, and in no event later than seven days after collection unless the data is part of an active criminal investigation. (626.19, subd. 6(c))

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