Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Tech News

If someone is using a drone to spy on you, what can they actually see?

Drone technologies have gone mainstream, so have you experienced one flying into your personal space yet? You don’t know who’s flying it or what they want, or what they can actually see.

aerial drones

Super secret surveillance gadgets

Drones were originally invented to perform surveillance functions for the military, and to drop missiles. It was only a matter of time before these aerial spies began to appeal to entrepreneurs and consumers. Nowadays, drones are available to the general public, ostensibly for photography projects and entertainment. For example, the sophisticated DJI Phantom 4 is available to customer for about $1,400.

bar

So what can people actually do with them?

As you might imagine, the availability of drones to the general public has raised some concerns about spying. Can and do people use drones to spy on their neighbors?

A number of lawsuits have already cropped up between drone flyers and the people they may or may not have been spying on – including one Kentucky dad who shot down a drone that he says was spying on his teen daughter.

Slate journalist Aymann Ismail was curious to find out how easy it would be to spy on people with a commercial drone. He took his DJI Phantom 4 on a test drive. With the permission of Slate Video’s executive producer Ayana Morali, Ismail flew a drone outside Morali’s second story Brooklyn apartment to see what he could see.

Ismail found that it was very easy to see Morali, including detailed facial expressions, but only when she stood near the window. Otherwise, it was too dark in the apartment to see what was going on inside.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Easy to peek, not so easy to spy

Ismail flew his drone down the street to try some outdoor spying at a nearby park. He found that it was easy to identify people and see the details of their clothing and facial expressions. Caleb, a 26 year old that Ismail filmed with this drone, was made rather uneasy by the encounter.

He said, “it’s easy to imagine people using it for malicious intent potentially.”

Indeed, it’s not hard to image that as technology advances, using a drone to spy will only become easier. However, Ismail assures us that, at least for now, it would be pretty tricky for a drone operator to spy on you undetected because the rotors on the drone are “as loud as a lawn mower.”

#DroneSpying

Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. JAV

    May 17, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    This is not a drone issue; it is a photography privacy issue.

    Many states already have Paparazzi or Peeping-Tom laws which protect people in private locations regardless of the exact camera platform being used. Narrowly tying any law to a single piece of technology will make the law obsolete by the time it is enacted.

    Does it really matter that the camera is flown by a drone? How about a step ladder and your phone? A selfie stick? A long lens equipped SLR from a second story across the street? A balloon? A trained pigeon with micro camera? Etc…

    The outdoor park example in the article is nonsense since you have no expectation of privacy in a public park and most cell phones do a better job at taking pictures in a park than a consumer drone camera.

    A single camera privacy law can criminalize privacy violating activities and does need yet another law every time a new type of camera platform is rapidly invented.

    Florida for instance has a ridiculous drone surveillance act, so narrowly defined and with so many exemptions, that it serves nearly no purpose at all. Well except to make it look like the governor is taking action against the evil drone threat.

  2. Pingback: Dedrone just raised $15M to protect people from drones' spyin' eyes - The American Genius

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Advertisement

KEEP READING!

Tech News

(TECHNOLOGY) The digital revolution of the past few decades has brought us many life-altering, innovative technologies, but these 7 take the cake.

Tech News

(TECH NEWS) Not to be outdone by Amazon, Walmart throws their hat, er, drones into the delivery game to try and catch up on...

Tech News

(TECH NEWS) The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Amazon for drone delivery service, but when will the drones actually take flight?

Business News

(BUSINESS NEWS) As employers implement more invasive spyware to monitor remote employees' at-home activity, some employees are giving the finger to Big Brother with...

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.