Re: Kudos to the idiot responsible
Firstly, the biggest concern about shooting down drones (apart from destruction of property) is not where the spent bullet might land, but where the damaged drone might land. Imagine that you shoot down a drone in order to protect your "privacy", and that drone crashes into the windscreen of a car, causing a fatal accident. Who would be held to blame, do you suppose?
That would be me, but I'm surrounded by farmland and I like clay pigeon shooting which means that I have a reasonably good aim, and have no worries about where the pieces land. Shame that clay pigeons are hard to aim - that would be the sort of "unfortunate accident" I'd love to automate :)
Secondly, there is no legal "right to privacy" except in certain very specific cases.
Actually, there is. There is no implicit definition in UK law other than their acceptance (and now attempted withdrawal from) the UDHR, but I can comfortably take you to court for invasion of privacy. The fact that physical privacy is mostly defined by who has the better lawyer does not mean it doesn't exist. By way of example, Sienna Miller has yet to lose a single case in this matter.
Do you also feel that you have the right to shoot down a telephone linesman working at the top of a pole that overlooks your garden? Or strafe the top deck of the bus driving past your house? Or bring down the hot-air balloon drifting overhead?
None of your examples set out to specifically invade my personal sphere, whereas a drone operator will have explicitly directed the drone to my property. Not a good argument either.
If you don't like the idea that it is perfectly possible for people to look into your garden, maybe you shouldn't do anything in your garden that you would not like other people to see.
Ah, the old "you should not have anything to hide argument" - do you by any chance work for the government? Here's a counter: my children are entitled to be safe from prying eyes as well, so if you try to film them without my permission when they are in the safety of my property you *will* get to deal with security who will hold you until the police arrives (and they have some experience in this by now). You'll have a fun time explaining why out of all the places your drone could be it just happened to be above my property.
Not that it's likely that the camera of the average hobbyist drone would capture anything all that clearly, but the birdwatcher who has climbed a tree with a pair of binoculars might.
As above - when the intent is there I *will* come after you. I'm done hiding from people who want to invade my privacy, because hiding doesn't correct the issue. I intend to make invading my privacy so risky and resulting in so much crap descending on the invader that only the thoroughly stupid would even consider it, and I'll help others to do the same. Enough is enough. My home is my castle and all that - my kids should have at least one place in the world where they can just be themselves without having to worry about idiots stalking them in whatever way comes in handy.
Maybe it's worth widening your perspective to include the social aspects and consequences of what you're defending. I have no problem at all with drone operators using their toys sensibly and responsibly and I have seen some truly beautiful work (especially in extreme sports), but the Heathrow incident is indicative of the sort of idiocy that we can all do without.
You can't tell me that you will fly into someone's garden by accident. If you do so, you should not try to hide behind "it's just a hobby" and "privacy doesn't exist" - have at least the balls to admit that at that point you are quite simply an electronic stalker.