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Dad Arrested for Shooting Down a Drone

Dad Arrested for Shooting Down a Drone for Spying in His Backyard where his teenage daughter was sunbathing

With the advent of drones, there has been a rise in national debates over the rights to privacy, property and self-defense. Lawmakers are finding it difficult to respond to controversies involving drones in neighborhoods. Recently an operator flew his drone dangerously close to a passenger flight that was arriving to a Dallas airport. In another event a drone stopped fire fighters from extinguishing wildfires. There was also a report of a drone that dropped marijuana, heroin and tobacco in a crowded prison yard. Well, if this was not enough, an employee of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency crashed the drone onto the White House. Obviously the Secret Service should have destroyed that drone. But that’s not the point. The problem is that these are all dangerous acts and signals to something big, something very dangerous around the corner. However I will save these points for my next blog, in this blog we will see what if neighbor’s drone comes into your lawn. Moreover what if it is loaded with a camera or any other welcoming item, do you have the liberty to shoot down the drone without getting arrested.

A teenage girl was sunbathing in her backyard in Hillview, Ky. She noticed a drone equipped with a camera hovering overhead. It’s quite reasonable for anyone to find something like this creepy. She immediately alerted her dad who got his shotgun. Within a minute, the drone was directly over their property. Without losing any time, the dad shot the drone directly into the air. The dad was arrested for shooting the drone and charged with felony wanton endangerment and criminal mischief. He defended his stand by stating that when you are in your own property, within a six foot privacy fence, you expect privacy. According to dad it was an act of trespassing.

This is not an isolated case. In New Jersey, a resident shot down a neighbor’s drone thinking it was a CIA surveillance device. The drone owner won the suit in a small claims court which found the man acting unreasonably, regardless of whether the drone was directly over his property or not. This naturally gives rise to a problem, in the sense, you really can’t do much. Unlike pedestrian trespass, your options are very limited in terms of removing drones from your property. At least as long as there is a lag between the advancement of technology and privacy law. There is a need for law, not on a local level, but at a state and federal level to handle these issues. It is a very nascent stage and the laws related to privacy is going to take many forms as drone technology develops and drones become more common.

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