Man refuses to stop drone-spying on Seattle woman

From The Atlantic (via Mashable):

Walk onto someone's lawn and you're trespassing; fly over it in a helicopter and you're in the clear — "the air is a public highway," the Supreme Court declared in 1946. But what about the in-between space? Does the availability of unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones, aka UAVs) throw a wrench in the old legal understandings?

Well, here's where the rubber meets the road for this abstract line of questioning. The Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reports a complaint it received from a resident in the Miller Park neighborhood. She writes:

This afternoon, a stranger set an aerial drone into flight over my yard and beside my house near Miller Playfield. I initially mistook its noisy buzzing for a weed-whacker on this warm spring day. After several minutes, I looked out my third-story window to see a drone hovering a few feet away. My husband went to talk to the man on the sidewalk outside our home who was operating the drone with a remote control, to ask him to not fly his drone near our home. The man insisted that it is legal for him to fly an aerial drone over our yard and adjacent to our windows. He noted that the drone has a camera, which transmits images he viewed through a set of glasses. He purported to be doing "research". We are extremely concerned, as he could very easily be a criminal who plans to break into our house or a peeping-tom.

The site adds, "The woman tells us she called police but they decided not to show up when the man left."

Views: 1972

Comment by IKE on May 13, 2013 at 4:21pm

They can always use a water-hose and then the drone or whatever will be on their lawn----> problem solved :P

Comment by Michael on May 13, 2013 at 5:33pm

Don't you own the airspace up around 100 ft of your property? If someone was doing the to me, they could say goodbye to their drone!

Comment by Chuck on May 13, 2013 at 5:54pm

Of course we only get one side of the story but it sounds like the woman and man were very cordial about the encounter and the operator should have followed their requests or at least attempted to make some concessions like "I won't fly within 100' of your residence". These people do not have any idea what we are flying nor the capabilities, take some time to educate them and be very nice. Most people know small flying objects for two purposes reconnaissance and missile carriers. Remember it just takes one of us to do something stupid or piss the wrong person off.


Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on May 13, 2013 at 7:17pm

As Pro-UAV as I am... somebody flying a quad near my windows... you won't be getting it back.

Comment by Luke Olson on May 13, 2013 at 7:44pm

Why did they call the police? They should have called this guy!

On a more serious note, that's pretty messed up. Hopefully lawmakers don't have a knee jerk reaction.

Comment by Mike on May 13, 2013 at 8:57pm
Police would be the best bet. Technically that's a peeping Tom, if they have the On board camera aimed at the windows with an occupant.
Comment by Jon on May 13, 2013 at 10:38pm

Crank up the power on the wifi router and place in window.

Comment by Justin Stiltner on May 13, 2013 at 10:43pm

I wonder if this guy is actually an anti "drone" guy that is just trying to stir up some news to get some anti drone laws passed?

Comment by Luke Olson on May 14, 2013 at 8:30am

Justin, I was thinking about that yesterday evening. Or maybe a undercover reporter doing a story about drones and privacy.

Comment by Jack Crossfire on May 14, 2013 at 3:48pm

There was once a guy who flew his Cessna 172 in low circles over an ex girlfriend or something.  Theoretically, he got busted by the FAA. 


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