back to article Own a drone: Fine. But fly a drone with a cam: Year in the clink

Anyone in Oregon owning a drone fitted with a camera could be jailed for six months, or a year if it's caught flying, if a new state law is passed. The rules were proposed to tackle, among other things, peeping toms gazing into bedroom windows. Draft legislation before the Oregon State Senate would, if put into the statute books …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "What is the UK's take on a drone camera?"

I vaguely remember reading an interpretation of this:

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/cap722.pdf

this:

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/cap658.pdf

and this:

http://www.bmfa.org/handbook/HandbookWebVersion2012.pdf

.... that an ummanned aircraft - either controlled in the classic RC manner from the ground, or First person view - carrying a camera - simple recording OR broadcasting - is ok as that is under direct control.

Equally a drone-controlled aircraft WITHOUT a camera is also ok.

But combine the 2 and it somehow became illegal.....

Although I cannot find the link that had that interpretation and haven't the time to plough through those CAPs.

I have a feeling that it may be as simple as where aviation in general is concerned, the basis of Common Law that applies on the ground - that unless something has explicitly been defined as illegal, it's legal - is reversed to a more Napoleonic style of law, where unless an action is explicitly allowed anywhere in the ANO in its entirety, it's an illegal action.

So as neither of those linked CAPs mention anything close to drones-with-cameras in their Contents, then its probably illegal, but check with the CAA.

But like all these things - eg mobile phone while driving - it can be as illegal as you want but unless time and money is invested into catching offenders, then the law remains an abstract concept until someone is actually caught.

Thats why I don't put my contact details on my RC aircraft as I "MAY" have flown above 400ft, which is illegal if a model is over 7kg, but the CPS would probably try it on anyway for a model under 7kg seen to be flying at over 1500ft with a camera on it, as that is also a combination of 2 separately allowed actions that may not be allowed when combined.

Anon, obviously!!

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Silver badge

Re: "What is the UK's take on a drone camera?"

I wonder if they'll have to be removed from paragliders and hangies, too? I'm tempted to buy one (I seem to be the only paraglider pilot out there who doesn't use such a camera) just to annoy...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "What is the UK's take on a drone camera?"

Also for commercial gain a licence is required.

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Happy

Fixed Wing

If they really want to persecute the technology they should focus on rotor wing craft, not fixed wing.

The only way my micro fixed wing drone (built from scratch over nine months) can peep through a window is if I'm about to fly/crash it through said window.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "What is the UK's take on a drone camera?"

Correction:

"Probably illegal unless properly registered and licenced".

But its all a bit of a mess, as Liverpool's police found out:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/8517726.stm

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Holmes

Re: "What is the UK's take on a drone camera?"

"But its all a bit of a mess, as Liverpool's police found out:"

One wonders if anyone was charged over that exercise in breaking the law or is being unaware of the law a valid excuse these days?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Scally Drones

Liverpool police already had a problem in their drone department when a zero day virus got into their systems.

I'm sure it's nothing that can't be fixed by switching it off and on again...

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Unhappy

Slightly worrying

Cos I love strapping a camera to my RC Cessna and doing <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTmUo5xSU5w">this</a> at the weekends.

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h3
Bronze badge

I thought you could get a concealed carry permit super easy in Oregon.

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FAIL

Drones don't film people, people film people.

If you ban drones then only the criminals will have them.

The only way of stopping a bad guy with a drone is a good guy with a drone.

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Thumb Up

"The only way of stopping a bad guy with a drone is a good guy with a Hellfire toting drone, flying with causal disregard for international law over someone else's airspace."

Fixed for you.

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Alien

I'm not convinced that drones with Hellfires are so effective. Got anything of Chinese manufacture?

Posted from my Antarctic base.

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Anonymous Coward

Not a chance

Boeing is located in Oregon.

They make drones.

Somebody doesn't like it.

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Unhappy

Concentrate on the camera

If the concern is about pictures, simply designate camera characteristics.

The GoPro camera shown above has very poor response to dimly lit scenes I teach young men and women English in my apartment and, for my own security, when no one else is in the apartment, I run GoPro's to record training sessions in case any accusations might be made.

I have found the ambient has to be quite high, so any aerial Peeping Toms would likely be disappointed.

Even running at a high frame rate GoPros exhibit quite a bit of blurring, not to mention the lenses fogging up from the heat of the camera.

Of course, surrounding your property with lightweight fish nylon netting would likely win you a few cameras and aircraft.

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Thankfully, they haven't outlawed my miniature unmanned camera-equipped submarine that cruises through sewage systems and surfaces in neighbor's toilets to shoot moon shots.

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Drones don't take pictures

Drones don't take pictures, people take pictures.

You can't ban guns on the grounds that they can be used to kill people, but it is all right to ban camera equipped drones because they might take pictures, or websites because they can be used for illegal file sharing.

The law should be aimed at the illegal act, not the enabling tech if that tech has other perfectly legitimate uses.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: Drones don't take pictures

If I shoot you with a gun, it's pretty obvious it was me. If I shoot you with a remote controlled drone, it's not?

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Re: Drones don't take pictures

Okay JDX, what about legitimate uses, such as building inspection? Would you be happy with some sort of licence for them? And why shouldn't some Oregon farmer use them over his land? What is wrong with just banning them in residential areas?

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Re: Drones don't take pictures

>If I shoot you with a gun, it's pretty obvious it was me. If I shoot you with a remote controlled drone, it's not?

It's probably easier to train with a scoped rifle and hit someone then try to hit someone with a gun on a 'reasonably affordable' drone. You can hit someone with a scoped rifle from quite a distance, we tend to call the people who do it regularly snipers.

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Bronze badge

Re: Drones don't take pictures

I would NOT be happy with licensing for hobby camera drones. Even for commercial work. I will concede that there should be a mass (weight) limit or some other measure to make a distinction between a hobby level device and something of a professional model. Until there is a rampant problem, law makers should just leave people alone. There are already plenty of laws regarding peeping through windows. The certain to be exempted government spy drones are the ones to be worried about as they will definitely be used to peep through windows.

The ideas posted on legitimate uses are great! Here's mine: Camera drones can be used with school biology courses to photograph birds nests to count eggs and chicks. Having a fun bit of tech like that will get more kids interested.

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ACx

Because some one might do something naughty, every one get criminalised. That is how laws are made these days, and where our freedom is going.

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A common theme...

With photographers of all stripes is that they're awfully keen to stick their cameras in where they're not welcome.

Hence rules like this.

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Mushroom

Re: A common theme...

"With photographers of all stripes is that they're awfully keen to stick their cameras in where they're not welcome. Hence rules like this."

Rubbish. One might as well argue that all car drivers are awfully keen to speed.

Some *scum* photographers are awfully keen to stick their cameras where they aren't welcome. Legislating against *every* photographer and RC-plane enthusiast because *some* photographers is just backwards.

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Anonymous Coward

I see what you did there

"their deployment was limited to their ... use in other vertical markets"

Very good !

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Bronze badge

What rot!

The c. of opinion at the Drones Club is that this anonymous American cove is a dashed unsportsmanlike blighter.

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Silver badge

I'm confused

How, exactly, is a cop with a remote controlled flying camera any different from a cop in a helicopter from a legal perspective? Other than the fact that it costs a hell of a lot less tax payer money to do the same job I don't see a difference, so why are they grounding their police drones?

Or does this stem from the increasing public perception that cops are the bad guys? (Which, frankly, is something else I don't get.)

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Bronze badge

Re: I'm confused

A cop in a helicopter is much more visible (and quite likely audible too) compared to a drone.

Another thing, helicopters have to have navigation lights and "tail numbers", drones probably do not.

It all amounts to "stealthiness".

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Gold badge

I have a very simple alternative..

.. just introduce the kind of privacy laws occasionally actually enforced in Europe (if it's not an Irish regulator angling for a job by Apple, but I digress).

It has all the right bits in.

Yes, I know that idea would have a snowball's chance in hell, but think of all the cushy lobbying you'd provoke if you proposed this..

/sarcasm

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Wouldn't existing laws about privacy and peeping toms already cover this?

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Silver badge

So, cameras attached to planes??

What happens if I fly into the PDX airport poking a camera out the window to take pix of the local scenery? Is that going to send me to the hoosegow?

Also, as I understand it, modern airplanes have video cameras pointing out the front to show passengers what is going on (back of seat displays). Are these going to be bad as well.

The absurdity also comes into play when you fly a small plane, like traffic reporter does, and transmit video back to the TV station. Off you go!

So, exceptions will be written into the law, and we will all need to figure out what exactly IS legal!

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Holmes

Re: So, cameras attached to planes??

Occam's razor:

What's more likely: That a bunch of lawyers totally forgot that thousands of 'planes and helicopters flying each day over the State already have people on board with cameras which are used legitimately, or that El Reg put prose ahead of stating the facts clearly and reported 'flying machine' when the draft legislation really applies to more specific cases?

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Silver badge

Bah!

I think it's pretty clear this politician is afraid of a specific threat, so the real question is: What's he been up to then?

Are we in pre-presidential GWB "apologize ahead of time for nothing in particular just in case you find something on me" territory?

Personally, having been alerted to this vile threat I plan on heavy investment in the soon-to-be lucrative market in counter-drone drones. A 1/8 scale Sopwith Camel with a Softair BB gun built-in should provide hours of counter-surveillance fun. Cabbage Crates spotted over the briny, skipper!

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Anonymous Coward

Land of the free?

Surely the true American way would be to leave people free to fly their own drones anywhere they want, and then sue them if they film you screwing your wife's sister through the upstairs window, before making even more money selling the confiscated footage to Cheaters before a local desk-cop has time to leak it to the press?

No?

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