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Phoenix Introduces Draft Ordinance To Criminalize Certain Drone Uses 200

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 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?

  • 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: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.

  • Re:well (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> 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?

  • 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.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun