Quoted: Drones and privacy — are people overreacting?

“It shouldn’t matter if you use a tripod or a zoom lens or a hidden camera placed in a tree. If you’re invading someone’s privacy, it’s the misconduct that should be illegal, and not the technology.”

Brendan Schulman, a New York attorney who specializes in drones, tells Bloomberg that many of the proposed state laws to place limits on drones “are an overreaction.” He says many existing laws already cover the concerns of those who are creeped out by drones that could possibly be watching or photographing them.

Earlier this year, California Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, introduced a bill that’s meant to clarify existing laws about trespassing and privacy. SB 142 “would expand trespassing laws to include piloting a drone within 350 feet above private property without permission,” Bloomberg reports.

“Drones are an emerging and exciting technology,” Jackson said in a press release. “But because they can easily travel over fences and other structures, we need to take extra precautions to ensure they don’t compromise our privacy and blur long-standing boundaries between public and private space.”

When a drone was flown onto the White House lawn in January, President Obama reportedly called on federal agencies to look into the need for drone regulations. (Not that federal agencies aren’t already thinking about it. The FAA, for example, is working on finalizing federal rules on drones, and has granted permission for some commercial uses. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration reportedly has a group working to establish suggested privacy guidelines.)

Meanwhile, Bloomberg notes that 44 states are considering 147 drone-related bills this year.


Photo: A Parrot A.R. Drone in 2010. (Associated Press)


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  • At the Best Drone Info we are 100% focused on drone technology, regulations, security, and more. In our opinion people are NOT overreacting, privacy issues, as well as national security issues, must be taken into consideration.

    However, drone technology is positioned well to drive major business opportunities, both extending existing business models as well as creating new markets. Drones are critical to both understand, as well as to support, right away.

    The FAA has made many positive steps on the regulatory fronts but the United States is far behind many other countries, and falling rapidly behind with each passing day. We must quickly get our arms around this technology, address valid concerns people are raising, and get moving.

    If we fail to do so we will be left far behind our competition (Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and many others).

    John Moore
    The Best Drone Info