After a resident complained about a drone being used to harass others in his neighborhood, the city of Hamilton in Ohio is considering bringing out legislation against drone voyeurism.
According to the complaints filed with Hamilton City Council, a local guy is said to have used his drone to peer inside windows, fly over children playing in yards, and even chase a young woman down the street.
When the complainant went to the police, he was told that nothing could be done because “there were no laws on the books.”
Drone voyeurism a recurring issue
Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith, who wants to implement a city-wide law against drone voyeurism pronto, tells:
I’ve heard it from at least five other people in the last two to three years that this is an issue.
And so, the proposed law will aim to make it illegal to use drones “to invade the privacy of another’s home, office, enclosed space or the private space of another.” In the same vein, flying drones above other people’s properties, such as homes, would be banned without the owner’s consent, as would flying over crime scenes or places where emergency workers are in action.
The proposed law would further make it unlawful to use drones in a manner that “recklessly endangers persons, wildlife, or property” or “harasses, disturbs, intimidates, annoys, or threatens persons.”
Other provisions of the proposed law include banning drone operators from flying over public parks, schools, municipal buildings, or any other property owned or used by the City of Hamilton School District, Hamilton Parks Conservancy, or the City of Hamilton. Media channels would get an exception.
Mayor Pat Moeller assured the complainant of action before the proposed legislation was created, saying:
I know your situation is awful, but we will definitely look into it. I do believe we’ll be able to come up with something.
In the meantime, City Law Director Letitia Block has found that similar ordinances have been filed for consideration in Youngstown, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and elsewhere in Ohio.
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