Are drones spying on us?
The buzz in Pound Ridge recently was about an intrusive flying device that zoomed over the skylight of a house, freaking out a mother and her children watching TV below. The flying device was, of course, a drone. Was it taking photos? Videos? Who was operating it? Was Big Brother watching?
Pound Ridge police heard about it and investigated. Chief David Ryan says the drone operator responded to their concern by, essentially, telling them to buzz off: there were no laws against drones. True, police say, but there are laws against eavesdropping and illegal surveillance; both are crimes; police could make a case. Drone use—and complaints—from that part of town has stopped.
In Bedford, police have had no drone complaints. One local enthusiast, photographer Peter Michaelis, has used his drone to take aerial shots for the Town. His comes equipped with video and still cameras. But Michaelis, a real-estate broker and former newsman for CBS and NBC, says invasions of privacy are unlikely. The camera would have to bump up against a window to see inside. If it did, the drone’s blades would hit the window and the drone would crash. A crashed drone, he says, is a ruined drone; $1,200 minimum would be out the window.
Chief Ryan says his advice for drone users is let neighbors and police know you’ll be flying and that covert operations aren’t on the agenda: “If people are communicative, they won’t be surprised.”