The Drone Controversy: Are Drones An Invasion of Privacy?

drones privacy

One of the major concerns people have today is that a drone could be used to violate the privacy of a person or household. This is becoming a common thought since drone technology is so popular. Here are some arguments about whether drones are currently an invasion of privacy.

Why a Drone Might Pose a Threat to Privacy

A drone might pose a threat to privacy because it is so mobile and easily controlled. Anyone can learn how to fly a drone relatively quickly with no formal training. An unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, can soar over a property looking down into yards. A smaller hovering drone can sit quietly outside of a window watching what is happening inside. Some designs move almost completely silently allowing the drone to go unnoticed unless someone knows what to look for.

Increasing Capabilities

The reality is that the capabilities of drones are increasing every day. This includes civilian and military applications. An average person today could buy a drone that comes with a full color camera attached. Some have microphones for listening to people. Newer models might have lenses that can zoom in on a target from a great distance. A drone could even carry a small amount of cargo very soon. This gives drone operators more tools to potentially invade the privacy of someone.

Drones Spy

Personal Privacy Rights

It is important to understand that personal privacy rights are not wholly settled. Whether you have a right to complete privacy in your back yard is questionable. A UAV flying overhead and taking pictures might not technically be invading the privacy of anyone under the law. You might have to always consider that someone might be watching you whenever you are outside of your house. There have not really been any precedent-setting cases involving a drone and privacy yet.

Why a Drone Might Not Be a Problem

Many people today do not see drones as an invasion of privacy. One reason is that taking reasonable measures like closing the curtains can defeat surveillance by a drone. Another issue is that using a drone to invade someone’s privacy is fairly inefficient and takes a large amount of work. Other simpler methods would work better. A final point is that drones are limited when it comes to surveillance. They cannot go too far from the operator.

Kids & Drones

Differences between Government and Civilian Use

An important distinction to make is between government and civilian use of drones. The government is currently bound by laws that prevent various agencies from using a drone to collect information on random people. A military UAV must meet strict legal guidelines if it is going to be used to surveil citizens. A civilian using a drone does not have the same regulations although the individual could be taken to court later if the privacy of a home was violated.