Here we go again… To prevent ‘window peeping,’ Prairie Village, Kansas, advances an ordinance that restricts drones. If the law is approved next month, violators can face up to a $500 fine or one month in jail. Just to be clear, current privacy laws already cover ‘window peeping’ concerns. Whether the camera is handheld or attached to a drone makes little difference. Furthermore, the FAA is the only body in the US that controls the airspace, as per their own words. However, time and time again, we see towns making up their own drone restriction rules, and the same goes in Prairie Village, Kansas.
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Prairie Village advances ordinance to restricts drones
The Kansas City Star reports that under the proposed ordinance, it would be illegal to fly a drone:
- Near people without their consent, or in a way that could hurt someone.
- Over an event with more than 100 people, without the consent of the venue owner or event organizer.
- Over property that the operator does not own or have consent to occupy.
- To conduct surveillance.
- While under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- When the drone is equipped with a weapon.
- In a reckless or careless manner.
If the law is approved at the next council meeting, at 6 p.m. on September 3, violators could be charged with a class “C” misdemeanor and could receive a $500 fine or even face up to one month of jail time. Interestingly, the proposed law would only apply to recreational drone pilots, and not to licensed commercial operators such as construction or media companies.
Prairie Village’s City Administrator Wes Jordan said:
It would have to be someone who had the intent to use the drone in an inappropriate manner, such as window peeping or something along those lines. We would employ common-sense enforcement. If little Johnny gets a drone for Christmas and goes outside with it, he’s not going to be automatically charged.
An important question that remains is, How would the city enforce such a drone-restricting ordinance? This is what Jordan said:
That’s the biggest challenge. When someone can pilot a drone from a remote location, finding the owner of it after the fact could be potentially difficult. And how do we go and investigate when we arrive and (the drone) is no longer there? So that’s the enforcement challenge: It’s finding out who the operator was and what the intent was.
Prairie Village is not the first town that tries to restrict the use of drones. Fort Wayne City, Indiana, tried to do something similar. And, on a larger scale, you have the Uniform Law Commission working on proposed legislation to balance property owners’ rights versus the drone operators’ needs.
What do you think about these kinds of drone restrictions being put in place by various towns and municipalities? Let us know in the comments below.
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