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 …

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  1. Wize

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

    Was thinking of knocking one together to check on my guttering.

    1. c4m1k4z3
      Coat

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

      i think BBC4 used it all up

    2. Andy ORourke
      Happy

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

      You can pick up a ready made one pretty cheap, Klaas Olsen do / did one for about £20 if I remember correctly (Helicpoter rather than "Drone" but I used it to check the gutters and I have no R/C flying experience (well, I do now obviously)

      Actually, £39.99 now - Catalogue here

      Disclosure - Not employed by them, satisfied customer

      1. robin48gx
        FAIL

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

        that helicopter looks very unreliable from the reviews

    3. Andy ORourke
      Happy

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

      Or, If you are really concerned about what the man will let you fly you could try one of THESE

      Maybe NSFW!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      Wouldn't a ladder be cheaper?

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Go

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

        Not as much fun though surely.

        "Love, I need £40 to buy a gutter inspection tool".

        Now its off to the park with my daughter to learn how to use it.

      2. Wize

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

        "Wouldn't a ladder be cheaper?"

        Depends how high your gutter is and how long a ladder you feel comfortable climbing. Mine high above the first floor (second floor for American viewers) and would have to set it up, climb up and down, move it, repeat.

        Was also thinking camera-on-a-stick with optional attachments to clear any problems.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      Have you considered one of *these* fine gutter inspection tools:-

      http://www.sermons4kids.com/periscope_instructions.htm

      No, I don't know what the heck this has to do with a "Sermons 4 Kids" website(!)

  2. Sam Liddicott

    a pole?

    I suppose a camera on the end of a pole is just as legal as it was before and just as likely to peep in a bedroom window.

    Me-thinks the law is over-specified.

    Why not just make peeping in a bedroom window with a camera illegal?

    I suspect all drones in Oregon will have a remote controlled camera eject facility

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: a pole?

      >>Why not just make peeping in a bedroom window with a camera illegal?

      One would think this surely IS illegal already, but perhaps the wording excludes remote viewing or is ambiguous and they don't want lawyers using it to make money.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a pole?

      > Me-thinks the law is over-specified.

      I think the law is perfectly specified; just not for what it says on the tin.

      People are starting to use drones to keep tabs on businesses suspected of nefarious practices such as illegal waste dumping.

      I suspect the law is about stopping that rather than preventing the local perv flying a parrot through Mrs. Wobbly-jugs' bathroom window.

    3. Suricou Raven

      Re: a pole?

      Don't forget the traditional method: Binoculars or telescope.

      1. RISC OS
        Joke

        Re: a pole?

        You seem well versed in the tradional methods ;)

        1. moiety

          Re: a pole?

          Drones would be pretty impractical for perving, I would have thought...too noisy.

      2. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: ... the traditional method: Binoculars or telescope.

        Especially if you live in a big city with lots of high rise buildings. I hear that "sky-watching" is the rage in some areas. (You know, observing "heavenly bodies" - especially [in my case] nice female bodies!)

  3. TeeCee Gold badge
    WTF?

    "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

    What if your flying machine came with a camera already built into it?

    You could fly a small drone through that loophole.....

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

      They'd probably say you'd no longer be allowed to fly such a machine in Oregon if the law passes. Owning such a device before the law passes would be a grey area due to prohibitions on retroactive statutes, but if the law passes, FLYING one would almost certainly be forbidden, built-in or not.

      1. sabba

        Re: "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

        I wonder how they'd categorise the satellites that are currently photographing the Earth in great detail? Are these defined as flying machines when in geo-stationary orbit? When a satellite re-enter is it a flying or a falling machine?

        1. Psyx
          Go

          Re: "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

          "I wonder how they'd categorise the satellites that are currently photographing the Earth in great detail? Are these defined as flying machines when in geo-stationary orbit? When a satellite re-enter is it a flying or a falling machine?"

          Although there is such a thing as national airspace, there's no such thing as national 'spacespace'. Anyone can park anything anywhere. Though recon birds aren't geostationary, as a rule.

          1. Scrumble
            Big Brother

            Re: "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

            This is the USA we're talking about, US law applies everywhere.

        2. Annihilator
          Boffin

          Re: "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

          The ones photographing in "great detail" aren't satellites - the resolution only goes down to about 0.5m, I think due to US restrictions already! The ones taking high detail stuff is aerial photography, and are licensed

        3. GT66

          Re: "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

          I would guarantee you that big industry and the government will be exempted.

    2. Trygve Henriksen
      Coat

      Re: "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

      That Silverlit is junk.

      Get one of their BT or 2.4GHz models instead. Some of those can handle calm outdoors...

      Mine's the one with his in the pocket: http://www.silverlit.com/toy/heli-cube

    3. Annihilator
      Alert

      Re: "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

      I dunno, but I'd be pretty annoyed if I'd spent £300 on a Parrot AR.Drone and then told I couldn't fly it. Presumably selling R/C helicopters, camcorders and gaffer tape in one purchase will be illegal too?

      The thing that struck me as the most alarming though, is that bills can be introduced anonymously in the first place??

  4. TRT Silver badge

    It seems to me...

    that attaching micro-cams to your toys is the big new thing in the world of modelling. I was at a model railway show at the weekend, and they had a driver's eye view from one of the trams, with a mock-up of the driver's controls so that people could have a go. Half the layouts had train cams, whereas a couple of years ago there were only one or two. I can see the appeal even more for aviation modelling. You can even get controllers with built in LCD screens now. This seems a case where intention is the culprit rather than the technology. Why not insist that all of these hobbyist cameras transmit unencrypted/scrambled?

    1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

      Re: It seems to me...

      "micro-cams to your toys is the big new thing in the world of modelling. I was at a model railway show at the weekend"

      Not so new. The American firm Lionel (OK, not exactly "model" trains at the time, but bear with me) introduced their "RailScope" system (nose-mounted mini-camera) in 1988. They did have the advantage at the time of having locomotives big enough to carry a late-80s size video camera.

  5. heyrick Silver badge

    Dear government...

    If you have nothing to hide, you have noth.....

    ...oh, wait, it doesn't work in reverse, does it?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Dear government...

      How's it in reverse when your neighbour uses a drone to watch you getting dressed?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Dear government...

        Someone catches me undressing they'll give up snooping for good.

        I'm investing in psychotherapy clinics.

      2. Chris007
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Dear government...

        Perhaps he should have put the coat or joke alert icon on his comment...

        However i'd put money on any [drone] laws exempting law enforcement or other govt agencies and in that instance his comment would be very pertinent.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Dear government...

          Just use curtains?

        2. Fatman Silver badge

          Re: exempting law enforcement or other govt agencies

          I would bet that such an exemption would be the first one listed.

          My first thought was 'about fucking time'; but on reflection, I can see many legitimate uses for the technology. None of them involve intruding on someone's privacy.

          If this even stands a chance of passing, then I feel that there are some exceptions that are in order, such as flying over public spaces, operating a drone over your own property (think farmers and anyone who owns large tracts of land) for starters. Flying your drone, with or without a camera in it, over a county/state/national park should NOT be a crime. A farmer, flying a drone over a his own acreage to check for loose livestock, intruders (poachers), crop observation, etc., should NOT be a crime!!!!

          What I would not object to are provisions that restrict operation over backyards, etc; perhaps a requirement for some kind of identifying number (aka 'tail number') - to allow prosecution of those who choose to use their drone in unacceptable ways.

      3. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Dear government...

        "How's it in reverse when your neighbour uses a drone to watch you getting dressed?" - obviously said by a person who has never seen this excuse of a body that I inhabit.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. John Robson Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Or just....

    legislate against that which you want to restrict - looking into people's bedrooms.

    Of course, that's already illegal, so they'd have nothing to do.

    The devil finds work idle hands.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Or just....

      "The devil finds work idle hands."

      Difficult if you're flying the drone at the same time.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Or just.... (@ Elmer Phud)

        "Difficult if you're flying the drone at the same time."

        Peeping toms with three hands! The next step in human Evolution!

    2. sabba
      Pirate

      Re: Or just....

      If looking into people's bedrooms is illegal I'd hate to be a window cleaner - there could be some heavy penalties being handed out :-)

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Or just....

      > Or just....

      >

      > legislate against that which you want to restrict - looking into people's bedrooms.

      >

      > Of course, that's already illegal, so they'd have nothing to do.

      Is it illegal if done from a public place, though?

      On those UK 'fly on the wall' police shows, such as "road wars" / "street wars" / "cops with cameras" etc. you often get the case where the suspect shouts "get that camera off me", and the policemen always (correctly) respond with "He's in a public place, he can record what he wants" [ though of course, the police view on this seems to change when they are being recorded.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Or just....

        Yes the law is an abomination, but we are only at the beginning of the tech.

        What happens when you get paparazzi-style telephoto lenses attached which can be flown over public areas and are taking pictures from a mile away? What if the police are allowed to do that?

        Personally I'm in favour of allowing both the drones and sniper rifles/high-power lasers.

        1. Psyx

          Re: Or just....

          "What happens when you get paparazzi-style telephoto lenses attached which can be flown over public areas and are taking pictures from a mile away?"

          They get very blurry photographs.

          You can't use a high-power telephoto lens from a model aeroplane and expect to get a usable photograph. You'd probably struggle to even get the 'plane in the air with your $10,000 lens unless it was pretty large, too.

          All told, there are cheaper ways of achieving the same results.

  7. Miek
    Unhappy

    Do they realise just how many people they are about to criminalise? The Model Aircraft market alone is huge, with many enthusiasts attaching cameras to their craft for the purpose of recording their flights, not to mention certain ball-ocket experiments and other high altitude boffinry.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Huge is it? Define huge.

      I don't disagree that the law is an abomination, but huge numbers of people are attaching cameras to planes? BS.

      Maybe a high proportion of the absolutely fucking tiny number of people who have planes are attaching cameras to planes…

      1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
        Paris Hilton

        RC hobbyists

        Be that as it may, the law will still make the innocent act of attaching a $200 camera kit to your probably-already-more-expensive-than-that RC chopper or plane a crime. Instead of assuming such machines will be used by individuals for nefarious purposes, as seems to be the way of modern legislation, existing privacy laws should be applied to individuals who misuses their toys.

        Law enforcement is REACTIVE. PROACTIVE law enforcement gets into the realm of attempting to determine one's intentions before he or she formulates the intention or executes the action, resulting in everyone being a criminal before given the chance to not be one. This makes the abhorrent assumption that people have no other attachment to doing right, or not doing wrong depending upon the theory applied, which is an affront to personal liberties.

        Paris, long after the original criminal, Fiona.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: RC hobbyists

          Perhaps I bolded the wrong section: I don't disagree that the law is an abomination

          I railed against the assertion that huge numbers of people were attaching cameras to RC planes, which is patently ridiculous.

          1. Miek
            Linux

            Re: RC hobbyists

            RC vehicles are /*very*/ popular and with the decrease in cost, improvements in power economy and an overall decrease in weight; attaching cameras to these vehicles is becoming a very common practise.

            An example, are the Quadrotor thingies you can buy that can be controlled from your phone, they have a camera installed by default and for good reason; they are easier to fly when you can get an in-flight POV rather than an external observer's POV.

            Have a poke around youtube for people attaching cameras to flying stuff and you will find plenty of people doing it.

            Also search on Google for "rc controlled helicopter with camera" and you will find many examples of RC choppers with HD cameras included. They don't make these sorts of things unless there is a market for it. Furthermore, the fact that you can buy an RC helicopter with an onboard video camera for less than £50 indicates, to me at least, that there is a substantial market for such 'toys'.

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Re: RC hobbyists

              They really are not very popular. Very popular would mean that you couldn't walk down the street without seeing 5 people with RC handsets. Tamagotchi were very popular. Burberry was very popular. RC vehicles is a very small specialist hobby.

              I'm not saying that because I think that, because it is a small specialist hobby, it should have to put up with stupid laws like this, I'm saying it because of your hyperbole in insisting that this is affecting everyone and his dog, simply because it affects you and your RC mates.

          2. Geraint Jones

            Re: RC hobbyists

            Not huge numbers maybe, but the ability to do so has become within reach of your "average modeller" if you will.

            As people have posted, putting a camera on an RC plane/helicopter is not difficult, and could cost as little as £20-30. Personally I don't see anything wrong with it - just like any other, tool, toy, or bloody kitchen appliance - it *could* be used for nefarious purposes, but most likely won't.

            Here's one I made last year: £100 ish plane, £20 video camera and radio gear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqF9bWbd9RY

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: RC hobbyists

          "Law enforcement is REACTIVE. PROACTIVE law enforcement gets into the realm of attempting to determine one's intentions before he or she formulates the intention or executes the action, resulting in everyone being a criminal before given the chance to not be one. This makes the abhorrent assumption that people have no other attachment to doing right, or not doing wrong depending upon the theory applied, which is an affront to personal liberties."

          But REACTIVE is now too slow for people. By then, the tragedy (Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City, 9/11) has already occurred and people are dead. That's too late. The move now is towards PRE-crime: preventing the tragedy from actually taking place so people don't die. Because if PRE-crime is such a bad time, how bad would it be compared to someone YOU love being the next to die become of some crime no one anticipated in time?

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