After flying a drone “a few feet away” from a family home in Seattle, one man claims he was doing research well within his legal rights. The camera-clad drone, however, spiked justified concerns about the privacy of the family who lives there.
A woman in Seattle explained to the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog (CHS) that she heard a buzzing noise outside her home that she assumed was a weed-whacker. Instead, it turned out to be a flying drone with an attached camera, hovering near her third-story window. She spotted a man on the sidewalk outside of the house controlling the drone. Her husband did what any normal person would do: he asked the man to cut it out, but he refused saying it was within the law to fly the drone and that he was conducting research. The couple subsequently called the police, who decided not to come once as the man decided to leave the area.
“We are extremely concerned, as he could very easily be a criminal who plans to break into our house or a peeping-tom,” she said, according to CHS.
The Atlantic points out that a 1946 Supreme Court ruling considers all airspace to be a public highway. But airspace or not, I assume you can’t take pictures of someone’s home through their windows without permission. If someone had a very long stick with a camera at the end and held it over your fence, you’d likely not consider that legal either. It’s yet another example of the dire situation we’re in trying to keep legislation up with technology.
Commenters on the CHS blog post speculate that the drone could have been used by a local paper’s reporters to demonstrate how “useless” they are. Others suggest it could have just been a weirdo.