How to Stop Drones from Flying Over Your House to Avoid Risks
Drones, formally called UAV or unmanned aerial vehicle, are getting more and more in demand by the minute. It has been estimated that there will be a total of 600,000 drones in the air at one time by the end of 2018, and by the end of 2021, there are an estimated 3.5 million small, hobbyist drones in use in the USA. The uncontrollable increase in the number of drones sold commercially makes one wonder at some point about how to stop drones from flying over your house.
What Are the Common Uses of Drone Cameras?
UAVs are first developed to drop bombs in war zones. It was a wise move to get into the enemy’s location and bomb them without compromising the safety of the soldiers.
However, humans are naturally creative and resourceful, so it is not long before other uses for drones have been developed. Currently, the industry that uses drones the most is the photography industry, and the second is real estate.
Drones were first created with good intentions, but just like any other tool or device, its usefulness can also be taken advantage of. There had been recorded incidents of human-crewed aircraft having to maneuver to avoid collision with a UAV. There were also reports of drones getting in the way of manned aircraft with at least 50 passengers.
For these reasons, the Federal Aviation Administration is requiring drones heavier than 0.55 pounds to be registered with them. Those drones are the ones which they believe could cause serious injuries and damage to properties. However, drone innovations, such as having built-in cameras and WiFi connection, could also pose serious threats to people’s privacy.
How to Stop Drones from Flying Over Your House?
Based on forums, the main concern of people who has drones flying over their house is the privacy of their loved ones. One concerned citizen is worried that the drone operator might be sneaking and watching his daughters in their respective rooms using his drone with a built-in camera.
Others are worried that their personal belongings are being compromised. Another person reported that he thinks the drone is taking pictures of his vintage cars without his permission.
A worst-case scenario is burglars spying on the family to know their routines, like when they leave the house, what time they arrive, and which door they enter. Having hold of these information gives criminals the advantage of knowing the best time to break into a specific residence.
Paranoia or not, having drones fly over your residence is bothersome. Even for the sole reason of robbing people of their peace of mind, flying drones over private properties should be a crime, but this is not the case. As of writing, there is no one clear and straightforward solution to preventing drones from invading people’s privacy.
Nevertheless, listed below are the best ways on how to stop drones from flying over your house.
1. Ask nicely
The first thing to do is to ask nicely. Some people who operate drone cameras are naturally insensitive. Meaning, just because they are not bothered by drones flying over their property, they think that other people are not bothered, too.
To do so, call their attention if you know who they are, whether by phone, chat, or by knocking at their door and telling them straight up. Just tell them, and hopefully, they would skip your property next time they fly their drone.
The problem is that most of the time, people who are bothered by these drones do not even know who is operating the drone. The best thing to do here is to follow the drone until it runs out of battery and lands (a drone can only fly 15 minutes tops) or do a little investigation by asking neighbors.
It is very likely that they are being bothered by the same drone. In that case, it would be a community effort to find the owner and talk to him or her.
2. Check Out Relevant Local Laws
There is no national law governing the use of commercially-sold UAVs. It appears there has not been a case so serious that the government would be prompted to come up with such comprehensive law and strict law enforcement.
Current laws that are related to flying drones over private properties are not about flying drones per se, but about the invasion of privacy. In the State of Texas, Texas Privacy Act of 2013 states that there is a $5000 civil penalty to someone proven flying a drone to capture private images or people or properties. There is a graver punishment if they are found to be distributing these images.
Aside from laws on invasion of privacy, a complaint can also be filed if you feel the drone flyer is creating a nuisance in your area. For this, you can again seek the help of like-minded people in the neighborhood. The case will be stronger is more people would file the same complaint.
3. Sign Up to a House Permission Network
You can also opt-in to what is known as NoFlyZone. This is created by a group of drone manufacturers that aims to create a database of people who do not want any drones flying over their property. You would be requested to enter your home information in an online database so that in their next firmware update, affected drone operators will not be able to go near your residence.
Unfortunately, not all drone manufacturers are willing to participate. This means that the drones that these companies manufacture would still be free to roam around your community and over your house. In addition, users who do not do regular firmware updates will also not be affected.
There is still no fool-proof solution to this problem at present, so commercially-sold drones are not considered to cause serious threats to people and properties.
In the first instance, try to be diplomatic and just express your concerns to your drone-flying neighbor (if it’s really just a neighbor). You can also try signing up to the NoFlyZone database.
Those might not solve the problem, but they also might because it is still possible that a member company manufactures the drone bothering you, and that the user would update its firmware soon.
Nonetheless, should you feel that something needs to be done and that the problem is getting more serious, you can always opt to be creative in filing your complaint. The case can always be tagged under the laws on invasion of privacy or nuisance for now. The punishment may not be that grave, but it is most likely that you would be able to send your message across.