Can drones spy on you?
One of the biggest issues I think anyone that’s ever heard of drones (but never really interacted with them) has with them is the privacy issues. While there certainly are a number of true privacy issues that will need to be addressed as the FAA continues on their path towards getting more permanent regulations in place, most people fear a drone peeking through their windows or photographing them while they lay in their skinnies in the back yard. There are a couple of problems with these scenarios though.
First, drones aren’t exactly quiet
The most common civilian drones that someone is likely to run into (no pun intended!) are about the size of a basketball, give or take, and have four propellers on them. These make so much noise that you can hear them above your house while you’re inside and can hear them even up to 300-400 ft. above you when you’re outside. Even a drone the size of your hand makes enough noise to be the center of attention in any living room (yes, you can fly your drones indoors!). So no drone is going to sneak up to your window and peek through without you hearing it.
Second, while maybe 50% of drones out there have a video feed, the feed is poor resolution and choppy at best
Drones equipped with video feeds going back to the operator (FPV – First person view) tend to have poor video resolution and a choppy feed at best. Think of the days when you were trying to tune your rabbit ears to get a decent signal on that channel that never comes through well and you’ll have a reasonable idea what flying FPV is like. If there’s someone under a drone in a bikini, odds are the pilot would run into a tree before he got much of a look at anything.
So overall, when you hear about privacy concerns (especially with residential property) and drones, know that most of the things that people typically worry about aren’t going to be a problem in the drone sphere. The drone owners around you want to use their skills for good rather than look over your fence! And as always, feel free to go up and chat with any drone owners you see, they’re usually more than happy to talk about their drones!