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?

          1. LaeMing Silver badge
            Flame

            Next up....

            Politicians make it a criminal offense to hold public office because someone in such a position /might/ become corrupt and abuse that power.

          2. Rattus Rattus

            @Charles 9

            Yes, that's right. That's how life works. Law enforcement is not, contrary to many people's beliefs, there to prevent crime from occurring. They are are there to (try to) find a criminal AFTER the crime has been committed so the legal system can make sure he (or she) doesn't do it again. Pre-emptive policing is a dangerous thing to even consider. You cannot justify arresting and prosecuting someone for their intentions if they have not, in fact, done anything wrong.

          3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: RC hobbyists - Charles 9

            That is one of the most frightening things I've read on El Reg for some time. There are so many holes in your argument that it isn't possible to begin to work out where to start.

            You aren't Harlan Ellison by any chance? Only he has made me feel so uncomfortable about the way society could go (try reading "Harrison Bergeron" for a clue).

      2. Miek
        Linux

        "Huge is it? Define huge."

        -- Of exceedingly great size, extent, or quantity.

        Any other questions ?

    2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      when is a drone not a drone?

      " 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."

      "No officer, it's a re-entry vehicle with a guidance camera attached.

      Yes, I know it's got LOHAN on the side"

  8. Matthew 25
    WTF?

    this...

    ... in a country that allows public gun ownership.

    Obviously the possibility you might take a picture of someone is much worse than the possibility you might kill them.

    </sark>

    1. FutureShock999

      Re: this...

      Most Western countries, including the UK and Oz, allow public gun ownership. The only question is in how much licensing there is - in the US next to none, in the UK a pretty fair amount of effort goes into keeping them out of the hands of crazies and weirdoes. The UK model is much better, but is rather too rigid in what constitutes unreasonable or irresponsible behaviour for the licensee (meaning that ANY statutory violation can result in you losing your gun license, even if someone starts a fight with YOU and you simply defend yourself, or in a moment of anger or fighting utter any threatening words of any sort). And the appeals process is horrendous, expensive, and rather biased against you. So the UK has the right laws, but overly rigid enforcement of behavioural standards, and the US is way too loose and doesn't even check psychiatric records. Somewhere between...

      BTW, does Oregon have any restrictions on placing a .410 derringer on board the drone??? Of courses, you would need a prohibited camera to actually aim it...

      1. Turtle

        @FutureShock999

        "The only question is in how much licensing there is - in the US next to none"

        Well, no. Firearms licensing is not a federal matter, but left to the states and local governments. Requirements for firearms ownerships varies greatly from one place to another and blanket generalizations are impossible to make.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: @FutureShock999

          oh, that makes it ok then.

  9. James Pickett

    As it's America, there's presumably no problem in having a gun fitted instead (although I might argue for being able to see what you were shooting at).

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      ATF,DOJ

      That would be a no no in the US.

  10. JDX Gold badge

    Tricky one

    I think having a drone with camera is an absolutely wonderful toy, if the range and battery life get a bit better than current consumer versions... you'd essentially be able to fly!

    But one can definitely imagine a massive use of these for watching people in the nude either for personal use, 'journalism', blackmail, or peep-show porn sites.

    Even if it's illegal to peep on people, catching anyone who is using a drone would be a nightmare so banning the sale of such products might, unfortunately, have to be the reasonable solution. Of course people can still built their own but then it goes from a mass-consumer-problem to a minority problem as few people could be bothered.

    There's an Arthur C. Clarke story (with Baxter I think) which talks about the death of privacy. In that case it's due to the ability to open mini-wormholes but the principle could be the same.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tricky one

      Curtains?

      1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

        Re: Tricky one

        "Curtains?"

        Nope - laser pointer

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Tricky one

        >>Curtains?

        So if I live somewhere not overlooked by any neighbours or roads, I have to make sure to close the curtains in case someone is looking through the window with a drone? Or make sure not to sunbath topless in my private garden which can't be seen any other way?

        Considering how frothy-mouthed you lot get about anyone knowing what you're doing on the internet, I'm surprised you're in favour of people spying through your window.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Tricky one

          No, you wouldn't *have* to use curtains, since it would still be covered by existing laws on peeping toms. We've had telephoto lenses for quite a while. Drones aren't some new threat to our privacy. This law, on the other hand, is a threat to common sense.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Tricky one

          >I'm surprised you're in favour of people spying through your window.

          FFS We're not in favour of people getting stabbed, but there are many uses for a knife.

        3. Psyx

          Re: Tricky one

          "I have to make sure to close the curtains in case someone is looking through the window with a drone? Or make sure not to sunbath topless in my private garden which can't be seen any other way?"

          I'd counter that that's a bit paranoid.

          Peeking toms have better ways of getting their kicks than flying little planes around and capturing grainy non-stabilised images from drone-mounted cameras.

    2. Suricou Raven

      Re: Tricky one

      That would be 'The Light of Other Days.' Good book.

      Do not confuse with the short story by the same title. They are nothing alike. Just a coincidence in naming.

      1. Tom Melly

        Re: Tricky one

        Hmm... I seem to remember a story called, iirc, "Welcome to the Goldfish Bowl". There was a huge time-viewer that allowed you to see the past housed in a massive building, and it could only look back if the event was over 500 years ago or something.

        Then someone worked out a) how to make it small and cheap and b) how to get around the 500 year thing (possibly realising it was an artificial restriction). They released the machine to the public, and a very angry man from the government turned up with the simple question "how long ago is the past?" and then left, muttering the story's title. (or something).

        1. Sam Liddicott

          Re: Tricky one

          Here;s what you are remembering: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dead_Past

    3. Chris 244
      Thumb Up

      Not wormholes

      IIRC it was neutrino-like particles that were used to visually reconstruct a view of any event anywhere. Originally the inventor thought it would allow researchers to peer back to any moment in time, but it turned out that signal-to-noise issues limited the time range to a few days. You could specify any viewing location, however.

      Keeping the subject in frame must have been tricky, given all the wobbling and weaving our little dreidel called Earth does as it hurtles across time and space.

    4. Psyx

      Re: Tricky one

      "But one can definitely imagine a massive use of these for watching people in the nude either for personal use, 'journalism', blackmail, or peep-show porn sites."

      I'm really struggling to. I can't help think that this does pretty much nothing that binoculars don't already do. The only exception I can think of is Paparazzi using it to intrude further than their existing lenses and helicopters already allow them.

      I'm assuming drones count as Game, right? In that if they're over your property, they're yours and you can shoot them?

  11. Steven Jones

    Flak

    I rather suspect a few gun-toting hunting types will make short work of any peeping tom drones. Perhaps the American obsession with guns might have an upside after all.

    1. Haku

      Re: Flak

      They have been, this was just one incedent a year ago:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZgk1cRqAfs

      With a clip from the drone itself at the end of the video.

  12. Electric sheep
    Thumb Up

    Its the USA isn't it?

    So why don't folks just blow them out of the sky with a 44 magnum?

    Its OK to shoot pretty much anything over there isn't it?

    1. FutureShock999

      Re: Its the USA isn't it?

      You show that you have no idea about guns. You would use a 12 gauge shotgun to take out a drone, although a 20 gauge would also work with less collateral damage. A 44 magnum would likely miss...

      1. Chris 244
        Joke

        Re: FS999

        A handgun is the perfect tool in this case, just make sure you use hollow point to minimize overpenetration. I guarantee a single round to center mass of the operator will bring down the drone.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: FS999

          >I guarantee a single round to center mass of the operator will bring down the drone.

          And how do you find the operator, if they no longer need line-of-sight? If you had the kit to triangulate their position, I'm sure you can find an easer way to disable the drone or its camera.

          1. Miek
            Coat

            Re: FS999

            It can't be that hard to find someone located in a 100 metre radius of said drone xD

            1. Haku

              @Miek

              100 meters? Nothing. Some of the FPV plane flyers can go a couple of miles with a live feed using equipment that doesn't break any laws regarding RF transmissions.

            2. taxman
              Big Brother

              Re: FS999

              http://www.helipal.com/product_info.php?currency=GBP&products_id=9957&gclid=CJesj-fGwrUCFUvHtAodzgEAMA

              Not quite a couple of miles, but far enough.

      2. Anonymous C0ward

        Re: Its the USA isn't it?

        >A 44 magnum would likely miss...

        Depends whether they feel lucky, punk.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Its the USA isn't it?

      Its OK to shoot pretty much anything over there isn't it?

      Some jurisdictions get snooty about discharging firearms within city limits. In those places you might be reliant on 'self defence' statutes and/or a lenient judge. Speaking personally I find the idea of someone firing a gun out of a bedroom window at a floating drone to be horrifying. Where's the bullet going to go if you miss? Come to that with a decent handgun the bullet will probably keep on going even if you do hit the drone. Even shotgun pellets could end up peppering your neighbour's garden.

      It's bad enough firing a gun upward within a populated area but firing it horizontally from a second floor window is scary as hell.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Its the USA isn't it?

      So just fit a gun to your drone and the Oregon politicians will be falling over themselves to defend your right to it

    4. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Its the USA isn't it?

      I keep waiting for the rest of the world to understand the difference between a well armed population and a bunch of trigger happy lunatics. Only an utter fool would shoot at a drone in a populated area. Granted, we do have more than our fair share of utter fools (AKA gang bangers), but they're still an extreme minority.

      1. Psyx
        Happy

        Re: Its the USA isn't it?

        "I keep waiting for the rest of the world to understand the difference between a well armed population and a bunch of trigger happy lunatics. Only an utter fool would shoot at a drone in a populated area. ."

        But don't you have people who fire handguns at cinema screens?!

  13. ratfox Silver badge
    FAIL

    People are crazy

    Seriously, you want a new law just to stop the maybe two guys in the whole state who would be willing to go to all that trouble, when there is an internet full of porn available?

    Anyway, isn't it already illegal to peep on people? Why bother with a new law, which will stop people from taking some completely innocent but very cool movies?

    This is very much like banning all phone cameras because there are people who will use them to take underskirt pictures in the subway. Let's ban zoom lenses, too.

  14. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Well, it would certainly kill

    any US-based Lohan shenanigans, would it not?

    1. Annihilator
      Go

      Re: Well, it would certainly kill

      I think if LOHAN drifts into Oregon's airspace then the mission will have wildly exceeded Lester's expectations :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, it would certainly kill

      Not necessarily so. This law wouldn't apply to balloonists, private pilots, passenegrs and such from taking videos it only cameras fixed to the flying device so there is a loophole.

      Lohan will have a playmonaut, fix a helmet cam to his helmet.

  15. AdamSweetman

    What exactly are they trying to do?

    It seems a very specific piece of legislation. Its not going to stop people who wish to perform an illegal act anyway (unauthorised surveillance) from performing that act, they are already determined to break 1 law, what's another one?

    More sensibly, how about mandating that all remotely operating devices with cameras carry a flashing orange light clearly visible from both the air and ground, this would seem to resolve the hidden surveillance problem whilst also covering a multitude of other potential problems as well, but not limiting legitimate users from enjoying the capability that camera mounted flying toys can bring.

  16. Shaha Alam
    Big Brother

    It's ok to spy on your neighbour.

    as long as you're not enjoying it.

  17. Winkypop Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    No peeping, OK?

    That's the Government's domain.

    1. Turtle

      @Winkypop Re: No peeping, OK?

      "That's Google's domain."

      Fixed!

      : ))

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Miniature Surface to Air Missile system?

    If anyone is worried about being filmed whilst nude then just deploy a mini SAM battery to protect your airspace.

    Probably wouldn't even need an active warhead, just the impact would knock the cambot down....

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Miniature Surface to Air Missile system?

      I was thinking the same, a new market opens, anti-drone private missile systems and window lasers to blind the cameras... with small IIR/radars sensor to track the drones and shoot 'em out. Or maybe fighter drones to take down peeping ones...,

    2. Peter Simpson 1
      Coat

      Re: Miniature Surface to Air Missile system?

      Trained owls.

      //Purina Owl Chow in the pocket

  19. Velv Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I'd been looking at flying toys for a while, so when one came up in the HMV sale at half price I took the plunge.

    I've never attempted being a peeping tom, but I'm guessing you need to stay pretty quiet. Quiet is N O T something that can be said for drones. Even with double glazing I suspect you'd notice the buzzing noise at the window (unless it was being masked by a buzzing noise in the room).

  20. James 51 Silver badge
    Joke

    I am the law!

    as US peeps grow increasingly uncomfortable with being watched all the time

    as US perps grow increasingly uncomfortable with being watched all the time

    There you go, fixed that for you.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    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!!

    1. Neil Barnes 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...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      Also for commercial gain a licence is required.

  22. Don Jefe
    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.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    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

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      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?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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...

  24. Stig2k
    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.

  25. h3

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

  26. NomNomNom
    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.

    1. Psyx
      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.

      1. Frank Noble
        Alien

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

        Posted from my Antarctic base.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a chance

    Boeing is located in Oregon.

    They make drones.

    Somebody doesn't like it.

  28. JaitcH
    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.

  29. Whiznot

    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.

  30. Len Goddard

    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.

    1. 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?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        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?

        1. MachDiamond Silver 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.

      2. pixl97

        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.

  31. 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.

  32. unwarranted triumphalism

    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.

    1. Psyx
      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.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see what you did there

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

    Very good !

  34. Fink-Nottle

    What rot!

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

  35. sisk 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.)

    1. Fatman Silver 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".

  36. Fred Flintstone 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

  37. john devoy

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

  38. Herby 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!

    1. Psyx
      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?

  39. Stevie 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!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    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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