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Phoenix Introduces Draft Ordinance To Criminalize Certain Drone Uses 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-using-drones-to-attack-mexico dept.
Fubar writes: Two city council members from Phoenix, AZ are introducing "draft language" for public discussion that would make it illegal to use a drone to film people without their knowledge. The council members are worred about privacy of people in their own yards, even including the requirement that law enforcement obtain a warrant for drone surveillance. A violation of the ordinance would be a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries up to a $2,500 fine and six months in jail.
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Phoenix Introduces Draft Ordinance To Criminalize Certain Drone Uses

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  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @01:25PM (#47704659) Homepage Journal

    A) It needs to only be applied to Drones with Cameras
    B) Do people legally have privacy in an uncovered yard? I don't think they do. I'm talk about legal, not rudeness.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CauseBy (3029989)

      B) that's pretty much the meaning of the proposed law, isn't it?

      In my opinion people should have some privacy in their yard -- less, maybe, than indoors but still more than none. I welcome laws giving me some rights in that area.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        What you welcome is unlawful. Sorry, but no.

        Just because you would like some privacy due to rudeness doesn't mean it's anywhere near legal.

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          If they made a law, it most certainly would be lawful- or legal.

    • Re:well (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @01:40PM (#47704833)

      A) it does, since it applies to taking photos. You can't really take a photo without a camera, can you?
      B) Depends on how you try to protect it. In most locations, an attempt to be private means its private. I.E. a privacy fence means you have an expectation of privacy. Having sex in a public park doesn't count, but in your hot tub with a fence around that a normal person can't see over and you should be able to assume your actions are private.

      • Re:well (Score:4, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @02:13PM (#47705161) Homepage Journal

        well, I can see my neighbors back yard from my deck. People who live o hills have plain sight of all the backyards below them, etc.

        Are you seriously saying I can't take a picture from my back deck?

        • Re:well (Score:4, Funny)

          by Rinikusu (28164) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @02:58PM (#47705575)

          Sure, if you want to be a creeper.

        • by vux984 (928602)

          well, I can see my neighbors back yard from my deck.

          Then that has nothing to do with the post you were replying to.

          You see in the post you replied to it was stipulated that they had taken steps to secure their privacy, by blocking your normal view.

          If you can see it from your deck, then it should be obvious to you that have NOT taken steps to make their backyard private from you.

          Now if you had to climb onto your roof and hang off the chimney to get a view that would be different.

          Are you seriously saying I ca

          • by Obfuscant (592200)

            If you can see it from your deck, then it should be obvious to you that have NOT taken steps to make their backyard private from you.

            It may be obvious to you, but sadly, it is not obvious to me. The only thing that is obvious is that an argument that is based on being "obvious" is often not so.

            They may or may not have taken steps to make their backyard private from me. They may not realize I can see into their yard from my deck, so they believe that the steps they have taken are sufficient, OR they may have taken no steps at all because they don't know of a problem (or they simply don't care).

            I cannot infer their intent in this regard

            • by vux984 (928602)

              Why should the platform matter, when the alleged goal is "privacy" and the taking of pictures?

              The law reacts to a perceived problem, written by people who are primarily adept at things like fundraising and image management.

              "residency" and "citizenship" are prerequisites for the job. "Writing good Legislation 101" isn't.

              Should there be a law that makes it illegal to use a tripod with a camera to take pictures of people that violate their privacy? How about using a stedi-cam to do the same thing?

              These don't g

              • by Obfuscant (592200)

                The law reacts to a perceived problem,

                Non-sequitor. "Because the city council are doofuses" is not an answer to "why should the platform matter?"

                So the rules and norms for already in place for photography are reasonably adequate.

                I think the point I was trying to make was exactly that. This law is a waste of time. As for "the norms", I don't care what you think the norms are when the issue is legal or not.

                But that's ultimately a circular argument, since the definition is going to be one that includes "taking low altitude shots of people otherwise unaware, from vantage points a photographer could not normally stand, such as from a drone" anyway;

                It doesn't have to include such specificity IF THE PLATFORM DOESN'T MATTER. And why should it? If the goal is to make "doing X" illegal, then make that illegal and don't waste time adding "from a drone".

                The law is an very imperfect expression of what society wants the rules to be,

                The law is a very i

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          In most countries privacy is a moving scale. Yes you can take a photo from your back deck, no you can not take a photo from your backyard standing on tiptoes holding a camera above your head. In your case they've made no attempt to block you, and likewise you've made no attempt to circumvent any of their attempts.

      • Re:well (Score:5, Insightful)

        by msauve (701917) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @02:25PM (#47705275)
        Will the US need to get warrants to take satellite photos of Phoenix? What about taking an aerial photo of my neighborhood from a real plane (say, 2500 feet up)? A helicopter from 1000 feet?

        What makes a drone unique, other than the presumed better resolution provided by presumed shorter distances?
        • by suutar (1860506)

          the fact that it can be smaller and therefore less noticeable than a person with a camera, presumably. Possibly also the fact that it can be in the yard while the operator is not, thereby calling into question whether it can be considered trespassing.

          • Are you talking about a drone or a satellite
            • by suutar (1860506)

              I was talking about drones. A satellite is no good for peeping tom type photos; between atmospheric interference and issues relating to focusing light at visible wavelengths, it's not feasible to get that kind of resolution from that high.

              • Things like google maps and apple maps have very detailed images close-up.
                • by suutar (1860506)

                  Oh, sure. Satellites can get pretty good for landscapes. We know military satellites can get 10" resolution because they've admitted it, but at that scale people (lying down for maximum area) are around 3x7 pixel blobs.

                  Better resolution than that tends to require aerial photography, because you can't get satellites much closer than the military does without hitting the atmosphere.

    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      If the yard has a fence, then you legally have privacy. If it blocks light, then it officially turns anything in the yard from 'in plain sight', to covered, which means law enforcement can't use it as an excuse to enter your property.
    • B) Do people legally have privacy in an uncovered yard? I don't think they do. I'm talk about legal, not rudeness.

      If they're not visible from a public location (E.G. behind a wall or otherwise hidden from the sidewalk), they're currently considered to have privacy under the law.

      Looking at the upmodded comments in this and previous discussion, I'm actually quite disappointed in Slashdot... Usually, one of the battle cries here is "but on a computer doesn't make it different", and they're strong advocates of

      • by geekoid (135745)

        So if I am looking down a hill from a sidewalk into a backyard?

        The issue is due to elevation.

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          Are you seriously comparing a natural vantage point to an artificial- only because of technology vantage point?

          Here is the problem. If your yard can be seen by the neighbors deck of the sidewalk behind the house, you know how private it is or is not. Now a remote controlled camera comes flying along and all the sudden- everything changes- without you necessarily knowing it.

          These are two vastly different situations.

        • To the simpleminded and feeble I suppose, or those looking for reasons to violate the personal privacy of others.

    • Re:well (Score:5, Informative)

      by TVmisGuided (151197) <alan.jump@PARISgmail.com minus city> on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @02:06PM (#47705081) Homepage

      Do people legally have privacy in an uncovered yard? I don't think they do. I'm talk about legal, not rudeness.

      In the book The Law (In Plain English) For Photographers (ISBN 978-1-58115-712-3), attorney Tad Williams discusses the right of privacy as it applies to photographers. Two cases in point are mentioned: Dietemann v. Time, Inc. (284 F. Supp. 925, 1968) and Galella v. Onassis (487 F.2d 986, 1973). Those are the two cases most often cited as examples of the tort of "intrusion on one's seclusion", and are the basis of the doctrine of "reasonable expectation of privacy on one's own property". (I leave the review of those cases as an exercise for the student.)

      The general rule of thumb for photographers is that if it can be seen from a public place, it can be photographed from a public place, UNLESS the subject being photographed is on their private property. Keeping in mind that anyone can be sued for anything at any time, it's best that a quadcopter operator err on the side of caution and make sure to NOT fly their aircraft in a manner that could be construed as attempting to make photographs of persons on private property without consent.

      Of course, it may require a few people having their expensive quadcopters blown out of the air by a well-placed shotgun round to get that message across.

      DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney and am not qualified to give legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney with experience in the subject matter for definitive legal advice regarding a particular situation. I am, however, a photographer, and make it a point to keep up with laws and ordinances that affect my enjoyment of the hobby of photography.

      • The general rule of thumb for photographers is that if it can be seen from a public place, it can be photographed from a public place, UNLESS the subject being photographed is on their private property.

        I think there are a lot of missing caveats here since if your statement is taken literally, then you are not allowed to take a picture from the sidewalk of me standing in my front yard which is on my private property. It would also make a lot of the Google StreetView a crime.

        • I think there are a lot of missing caveats here since if your statement is taken literally, then you are not allowed to take a picture from the sidewalk of me standing in my front yard which is on my private property. It would also make a lot of the Google StreetView a crime.

          ...which is why it's a general rule of thumb. And Google Street View would be required to obtain a model release before publishing a photo with you in it, if you can be recognized in that photo. Also, while they could conceivably publish that photo, they could NOT publish a photo of you standing inside your house, because that would be an intrusion on your seclusion.

          There's also a new anti-paparazzi law coming onto the books in California, meant to strengthen the one passed a few years ago by including cele

          • by pudding7 (584715)
            You are entirely wrong about it being illegal to photograph someone who's on their private property.
    • Re:well (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @02:11PM (#47705145)

      B) Do people legally have privacy in an uncovered yard? I don't think they do. I'm talk about legal, not rudeness.

      In my state, the answer is Very Definitely Hell Yes.

      It is strictly illegal for anybody (including law enforcement without a warrant) to use ANY means to view something on your property that isn't clearly visible to a common pedestrian or vehicle going past. That means, for example, that it's illegal for anybody (including police) to so much as use a stepladder to see over your back fence. It is termed "illegal surveillance" and the law was in place long before drones existed.

      It's even illegal to stare in my front window from the sidewalk, or with binoculars, even if my curtains are open. Same law. You can look in as you go past, of course. But you can't "watch" for a long time.

      • So have they issued warrants against Google yet?
      • by LionMage (318500)

        It's even illegal to stare in my front window from the sidewalk, or with binoculars, even if my curtains are open.

        I've always wondered what the guidelines are for something like this in various jurisdictions. I live in Phoenix, and for about a year I lived in an apartment complex with some very large and revealing sliding glass doors that all face an interior common area (swimming pool, etc.) — naturally, most residents kept their curtains closed most of the time for privacy. There was one guy, howe

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        "Climate science” isn’t “settled”, at all. On the contrary, it’s very Unsettled. ow.ly/Av6AX [archive.today] [Lonny Eachus, 2014-08-19] [archive.today]

        Lonny's link claims that:

        "... Most discussion on the science of AGW revolves around the climatic effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. How it got there in the first place- the assumption being that incr

    • by timeOday (582209)

      A) It needs to only be applied to Drones with Cameras

      The ability to fly out of visual range is what a drone is. Otherwise it's just an RC helicopter or plane.

      (I guess a drone without a camera could navigate solely by GPS, but it's hard to imagine the usefulness of that; without a camera it couldn't even deliver a payload with decent accuracy.)

  • Without their knowledge? You and your gf (or bf) are getting busy in the back yard and you see a drone. That drone can now film away as you know about it.
    • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @01:41PM (#47704845)

      The law will use the word 'consent', not 'knowledge' Don't assume shitty slashdot summaries are ever going to be written into law.

      • by bobbied (2522392)

        Don't assume shitty slashdot summaries are ever going to be written into law.

        Don't assume they won't either. These are city politicians, which means they are either on their way up and have a lot to learn, or have reached their maximum level of stupidity. However, this is Phoenix, which should at least have some competent lawyers actually drafting the final laws, but a city lawyer is going to be in the same boat as the politicians, wither on their way up with lots to learn, or already maxed out.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @01:30PM (#47704723)

    From TFA

    Two City Council members today will unveil a draft ordinance that would make it a crime to use a drone to film, audiotape or photograph people on their private property without their consent.

    Which basically goes against well established photography law that basically says if you can see it from a public location then its fair game.

    OTOH I'm not sure how you can reasonably legislate pics taken from drones. Do you now define a private location to include the airspace above it? But what if I am in public airspace, yet high enough to see over a wall?

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      No, not really.

      You can't climb a ladder and take pics of some girl sunbathing in her backyard legally if she is behind a privacy fence that you had to go out of your way to see over, that includes using a drone to do so.

      If you have to take explicit action to circumvent something providing privacy, you don't magically get a free pass for doing so and more than you get a free pass for robbing a hows because the door was unlocked.

      • by DaHat (247651)

        You can't climb a ladder and take pics of some girl sunbathing in her backyard legally if she is behind a privacy fence that you had to go out of your way to see over, that includes using a drone to do so.

        Who said a ladder is required? From the second floor of a house you can often see much of a neighbors yard when there is only a man sized fence.

        Sometimes a bigger fence is required, just ask Todd Palin: http://xfinity.comcast.net/blo... [comcast.net]

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      And this is why as technology changes, we probably should at least consider new laws.

      Having sex in your fenced, backyard hot-tub when you live next door to a skyscraper or under a cliff is asking to be watched.
      Having sex in your fenced, backyard hot-tub when you live in a tract home in the Phoenix suburbs isn't.

      Municipal legislation that says you can't spy with camera drones seems reasonable -- provided you can draft the laws right.

      n.b. I'm a resident of Phoenix.

      • by hondo77 (324058)

        Having sex in your fenced, backyard hot-tub when you live next door to a skyscraper or under a cliff is asking to be watched.
        Having sex in your fenced, backyard hot-tub when you live in a tract home in the Phoenix suburbs isn't.

        Coming soon: drone porn. "I was flying my new drone around the neighborhood for the first time when you won't believe what I caught my sexy neighbor doing with the pool man!"

      • ... provided you can draft the laws right.

        And thats always the trick. As well as enforcement, which in this case will be almost impossible.

        Perhaps empowering people to enforce for themselves: "to interfere with or damage a drone operating over your property or engaged in warrantless surveillence of your propertry, shall be a violation punishable by up to $1 for each occurence". Make it legal by making it illegal. Sort of a cheap drone-hunting license.

        • by mythosaz (572040)

          Arizona law doesn't afford that. It simply has maximum fines and imprisonment terms for each class of felony or misdemeanor, and then it's up to the court.

          • They certainly have violations, which are below misdemeanors. Thats what speeding tickets and parking violations are. By making it specifically a violation, with a maximum fine of $1, supercedes any general application of higher charges.

            Not my idea - got it from this beat up a flag burner [philly.com] law.
        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Perhaps empowering people to enforce for themselves: "to interfere with or damage a drone operating over your property or engaged in warrantless surveillence of your propertry, shall be a violation punishable by up to $1 for each occurence". Make it legal by making it illegal. Sort of a cheap drone-hunting license.

          Except most creeper drones won't fly over your property - they'll really be "cameras on really really really tall ladders looking down". So your law wouldn't work because they'd fly around your pr

    • by Solandri (704621)
      Not to mention it would've given Barbra Streisand the legal ammo to defeat the Streisand effect [wikipedia.org]. I expect Google and Bing will make sure this doesn't get out of hand, before they're forced to devote more resources to policing their satellite/aerial photo maps than they currently are abiding by the EU's right to be forgotten law.
    • by Ichijo (607641)

      If a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, peeping tom laws already say you cannot look or take photos. So it doesn't appear that the proposed law will bring any meaningful benefit. It's bloatware.

      • by OzPeter (195038)

        If a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, peeping tom laws already say you cannot look or take photos.

        Tell that to the paparazzi. There is a whole industry devoted to finding public locations where you can spy on celebs, and then using the longest telephoto lens needed to get the shot.

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        That depends on the state. Ohio for instance requires the photos or peeping to be for the purpose of sexual arousal or self gratification. Other states might be different.

  • Is there already a law about filming someone without their knowledge? If there is it's all that is needed. No need to add "On the internet"...I mean "with a drone" to it. If not then why should it be illegal for use with a drone? Would that mean that it is illegal to do with a drone but perfectly legal if I am using a jetpack? It's just like having a specific no texting and driving law when it's already illegal to drive distracted. Just start enforcing the law already there!
    • by geekoid (135745)

      No. In fact, if you are in public, then you can be filmed.
      As it should be.

    • by soft_guy (534437) *
      No, there isn't a law against filming or photographing someone in a public place with or without their knowledge.
  • I am 100% in favor of privacy, but there are places you shouldn't expect privacy. For example if you have your lights on and the windows open you can't expect the right to privacy from the street. If you want to get it on with your partner in your backyard without cover, that does entail a privacy risk. You don't have the right to the airspace of all angles to your home. I mean with adequate zoom you could be filmed or watched from an airplane or satellite too. The way I see it, if I have the right to be so

    • by slew (2918)

      I also have the right to record what I see.

      Sadly, you do not have the absolute right to record what you see. For instance being in your hotel room and having someone film you from a peephole in the door. Even though you might be able to see it when you are standing in a public place, you have no right to record what you can see.

      If the subject of the photography is in public (as opposed to a publically accessible, but privately owned place), courts have basically ruled the subjects have no expectation of privacy, so most photographic recording is f

  • It's already an accepted standard of law that people have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" when on their own property, including in their vehicles. Thus, photographing them by ANY means (my emphasis) is already illegal unless supported by a lawfully-obtained surveillance or search warrant. To single out "drones" as a means of obtaining photos or video is knee-jerk at best, and arguably could lead to severe restrictions on photography in general.

    It's sad that there are some (for lack of a better term coming to mind) quadrotor-cowboys that are more interested in whether they CAN obtain footage using their newfangled toys than stopping to think about whether they SHOULD. Those are the ones that will poison the well for legitimate experimentation and application, such as search and rescue, crop monitoring, etc. Before the dust has settled, the moneyed interests will make sure that the only players allowed to take to the air are Department Of Defense contractors, and if people aren't careful, even the radio-controlled-model industry will find itself under the heavy end of the regulatory hammer, even more so than when the FAA issued its "interpretation of the special rule for model aircraft" [faa.gov] in July. That "interpretation" alone could, IMO, completely destroy the first-person-view mode of operation if followed to the letter.

    Just my 2p worth...save up the change for a spool of Cat6 or something.

    • quadrotor-cowboys that are more interested in whether they CAN obtain footage using their newfangled toys than stopping to think about whether they SHOULD

      No doubt when film cameras were first invented people went apeshit about them too. Most aerobot operators are totally responsible, but there are always a few exceptions in every population.

      Society will just accept these risks and move on, like in every other situation with new technology. Our problem is we have a caste that calls themselves "lawmakers" a

      • Our problem is we have a caste that calls themselves "lawmakers" and so all they want to do is make new laws.

        Unsurprising, when you are ruled by lawyers. Poking around demographics on Congress, we find about 40% of members with a law degree (over 50% in the Senate). In contrast, only 2% of them are scientists or engineers...

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      It's already an accepted standard of law that people have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" when on their own property, including in their vehicles. Thus, photographing them by ANY means (my emphasis) is already illegal unless supported by a lawfully-obtained surveillance or search warrant.

      Then why don't the paparazzi get convicted when they take long range shots of people on their own property? I see little legal difference between a drone hovering off property and a person climbing a tree or standing on a hill off property. Just look at the number of helicopters around celebrity weddings. What is the difference between a drone and a helicopter except size and placement of a pilot. Those helicopter shots are not illegal; why should similar drone shots be illegal?

      • Then why don't the paparazzi get convicted when they take long range shots of people on their own property? I see little legal difference between a drone hovering off property and a person climbing a tree or standing on a hill off property. Just look at the number of helicopters around celebrity weddings. What is the difference between a drone and a helicopter except size and placement of a pilot. Those helicopter shots are not illegal; why should similar drone shots be illegal?

        One question: are any complaints being filed against the helicopter pilot?

        • by jklovanc (1603149)

          Considering there are so many complaints in the media about the helicopters I would think that at least one lawyer would lodge a complaint with the police if it was illegal. I can't find any.

  • We've come a long way. Apparently domestic spying on people and sniffing in their private life has become common enough that we consider it a surprise when someone has the outlandish idea that the executive should first get a warrant for it...

  • This will have a chilling effect on hobbies in AZ. Joe Arpaio's jail is a deterrent like no other jail in the USA.
    • by mythosaz (572040)

      This is a feel-good law.

      The PPD isn't going to be out with binoculars searching for copter pilots. At best a your neighbor is going to call them on a nuisance call and make them knock on your door and ask that you quit bothering your neighbor so they can go back to not bothering you.

      I anticipate the Arizona Republic running a story in a few years about how some New Times reporter flew a copter over Arpaio's or Mark Brvinovich's back yard and how they could be impacted by this pointless and obscure law.

      That

      • by geekoid (135745)

        ". It's another lasers-at-airplanes law"
        You're pretty god damned clueless.

        • by mythosaz (572040)

          And, as established previously, you're a dick. ...since we've gone from 0 to name-calling in 1 post.

          This law, like a lasers-at-airplanes law, won't be enforced by a bunch of police running around with binoculars. It won't be actively enforced by anyone at all. It'll stop a few people from spying on their neighbors (by increasing awareness), but won't otherwise do much except remind people that, like shining a light at planes, spying on your neighbors is bad. A few people will be caught after-the-fact and

          • by bobbied (2522392)

            No, actually the laws about pointing lasers at airplanes is routinely enforced, so he's right, you are clueless.

            That little prank is incredibly dangerous and the penalties for breaking that set of laws are pretty steep. Just because it is really difficult to find some yahoo with a laser pointer, doesn't mean they don't try, and sometimes succeed.

    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      Yes, why Joe's jail has decreased, whoops, I mean INCREASED crime in the serviced area.
      • by mythosaz (572040)

        Misleading, at best.

        The MSCO serves, in short, pretty shitty parts of the Phoenix metro area.

        The USDOJ report condemning the MCSO is a good read on background information.
        http://www.justice.gov/crt/abo... [justice.gov]

        Since 2008, violent crime rates have remained at roughly the same level in Maricopa County, while dropping by over 10 percent in similarly situated jurisdictions.

        In the last decade, the "heart" of Phoenix has gotten vastly safer, and the bad parts of Phoenix - unincorporated areas served by the MCSO (again

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        I forgot to mention another gap in logic here...

        The MCSO provides jail services for Metro Phoenix as a whole, but the MSCO only directly polices unincorporated areas of town. Phoenix and all of its major suburbs have their own police. Crime in Phoenix (as a whole) is way, way down.

  • Me? I'm worred too, a lot!

  • First, I'm almost positive that Arizona can't regulate use of its airspace, including the reasons for use.

    Second, this seems like a bad idea. The problem is not drones, it's a lack of comprehensive privacy protection. With well-defined expectations for privacy, it won't matter how those expectations are violated or what technology is used to do it. Address privacy, and the rest will follow naturally. (And good luck expecting privacy in outdoor spaces.)

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Oh, forgot to mention that this law is basically unenforceable, which makes it a bad law. If my neighbor is flying a drone, and I presume that he's behaving lawfully (as I should) and not filming me, then there's no justification to get a warrant to see if he actually was recording me. OTOH, if his use of a drone is itself a reasonable suspicion, then no one can use drones, period. (Or planes, or satellites, or telescopes.)

      • by bobbied (2522392)

        Further, they specifically give you an "out" if you, A. Don't upload the pictures/videos to the internet. B. Agree to delete any videos collected. So if the police walk up when you are flying the drone over the neighborhood's well known nude sunbather, all you have to do is delete the recordings. So you say, "Sorry officer, I will delete that data right now."

        Just don't get caught with such pictures or upload them at a later date...

  • Somewhat off-topic, TFS mentions the penalty is up to six months in jail or a $2,500 fine. I've noticed recently the fine vs jail time often seems quite out of balance. Somewhere I saw 1 year or $1000. I'd rather pay a $1000 fine than spend a WEEK in jail, much less a YEAR. Does anybody know why the fines are always so low compared to the jail time?

    I'd think it would be in the state's interest to do the opposite- collect a $5,000 fine from someone rather than housing them in jail for six months.

    • IANAC[riminal] so I have no first hand experience but I don't think you get to pick which penalty you receive.

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        Correct. As stated, those are simply the misdemeanor-1 maximums in Arizona, and as such, the actual punishment could be anywhere in the range of 0-180 days, or 0-2500 dollars. [Plus court costs.]

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      This is simply based on AZ misdemeanor sentencing maximums.

      ARS 13-707 [azleg.gov] says that a Class 1 Misdemeanor (the highest class before a felony) has a maximum sentence of six months. 13-802 [azleg.gov] has the maximum fine: $2500. What the actual possible sentence for this particular crime would be is entirely different. [Also, it's unlikely that someone guilty of a this crime, unless the AG's office wanted to make an example of someone, wouldn't plead guilty to a lesser charge, which happens, like, always.]

      It's worth noti

  • Here in Vancouver it seems Peeping Toms have started using drones to peer into high rise apartments:

    https://twitter.com/Conner_G/s... [twitter.com]

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/... [www.cbc.ca]

    I would say the era of the legal 'personal drone' is rapidly coming to an end. Some people can't use them responsibly, so like everything else fun they will be banned.

    This is why we can't have nice things.
  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @02:11PM (#47705143)

    This ordinance doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to me, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it struck down if it passes.

    The way privacy law works now is that if you're standing in your yard and are plainly visible from a public area (the street), you can be photographed without your consent because you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. There is an exception for things like fences and tall hedges and the like, but for the most part, if you can see it without trespassing on someone's land it's fair game.

    Under this ordinance, I could photograph my neighbor mowing his lawn with a regular camera, but doing so with a drone would be in violation. I'm surprised they didn't simply say "Existing laws and regulations governing photography and the right to privacy also apply to cameras mounted on drones."

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Well way solution, film your neighbour while the lawnmower is stopped. That way he will be able to hear you and you will no longer be filming without his knowledge. The whole notion of something happening without knowledge would seem ridiculous to anyone who's down in a residential area and then dealt with upset barking dogs and people coming out to see what the loud buzzing noise is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @02:15PM (#47705197)

    I'm all for banning use of drones and other means of specifically filming someone in their own backyard without their knowledge. On the other hand, in the not too distant future we might have drones delivering packages to peoples' homes, searching for lost people and/or pets, or doing some other useful stuff, where cameras may be helpful for navigating around obstacles etc. Filming should be allowed for such purposes, but heavy penalties should be placed on storing, distributing or otherwise misusing such footage without a valid reason.

  • by Peter Simpson (112887) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @02:37PM (#47705377)
    The good council members need to find a more important topic to occupy their time. Flying a drone over someone's yard is bad, but flying a news helicopter over it is just fine? How about kites with cameras on them? Balloons? African swallows?
  • watching livefeeds of the Ferguson riots, I keep thinking the press could use drones for videoing or at least placing cameras in convenient places l;ike on top of lampposts.

  • by Jim Sadler (3430529) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @02:44PM (#47705443)
    Any modern satellite can get photos of you from space. Any plane passing over can also snap pics as well. Beyond that anything in public view is fair game. Obviously if you are concerned about privacy you should have a roof and walls around you. Can you imagine a balloonist shooting pics of his voyage and accidentally getting people in the background of the pics? In essence if anything is private it needs to be tightly held aside and never shared with anyone in any way. Many people are expanding the concept of privacy rather foolishly. We are also encouraging all manner of crimes by disallowing voice recordings in many situations. How many seniors have been violated by dishonest sales tactics in their homes? Yet it is a crime to record voice. It is time for people to take responsibility for their deeds and words instead of allowing people to commit all kinds of crimes and encouraging lies.
  • Doesn't this pretty much eliminate any usage of a camera equipped drone anywhere in the city? How could you avoid filming bystanders if you were filming anything using a drone -- a high school football game, for instance.

    I understand the reasons for the law -- we don't want people intentionally flying drones in areas where privacy would be expected -- and I include a back patio in that definition, if the owner has made a reasonable effort to make it a private space. But I'm concerned that a too-broad inte

  • Most assuredly, "drone" will have to be defined. Whoever is responsible for doing that better get it right.

    Maybe I can use a kite?

    I think a workable law will have to leave out "drone" and focus (ha!) on the camera part.

  • What about when the press uses a quad copter with a camera to go behind the gates of a company doing something nasty, or a wealthy politician's compound where something illegal is going on? Seems like this would make it harder for whistle-blowers to do their thing.

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