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How Widespread Is The Problem Of ‘Peeping Tom’ Drones?

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New Zealand media have reported that an Upper Hutt woman was recently shocked to discover a black drone hovering outside her bedroom window at night.

This type of story is becoming all-too-familiar as the cost of consumer drones drops and the number in circulation explodes.

In 2017, the number of public complaints about drones to the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had skyrocketed. New Zealand has just 4.7 million and not more than tens of thousands of publicly owned drones (exact numbers are difficult to come by). However, last year alone there were more than 300 public complaints to the CAA about drones (not all of them privacy related).

Drone owners (droners, if you will) are often keen to use their craft to explore their surrounding area. Unfortunately, most of the public are unlikely to assume a hovering drone is just innocently passing by if it spends more than a few seconds anywhere in the vicinity of their house.

Most of us would find this outside our window more than a little unnerving. Credit: ACLU.

If a drone was buzzing outside one of my windows, my thoughts would probably go along the following lines:

Is that a drone I hear? What’s it doing here? *Ten seconds elapse, drone doesn’t move* Wait up…Is it spying on me? Who’s the pilot? *Twenty seconds pass, drone still hasn’t moved. Rushedly pull my curtains and stare through gap at drone which remains outside my window* Are they a pervert? Is someone after me? What have I got to throw at this thing?

Faced with this situation, you might have a completely different reaction than I would. We can probably agree that there is something pretty unnerving about someone you don’t know filming you – especially outside your house. No matter the reason for the drone being there, the property owner will likely wonder why the drone is there and for what purpose they filming?

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