On Your Side
Personal drones and privacy
Remote control helicopters can allow you to peer into homes and yards which is potentially illegal. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
A new drone bought by the city of Caldwell to monitor disasters has some questioning if their privacy is in jeapordy.
Today's 6 is On Your Side and if you're really concerned about privacy , wait till you see what we found at your local hobby store. The A-R Drone at Hobbytown USA may be just a toy, but these toys have come a long way.
"It's billed as a live video game." says HobbyTown USA representative Tim Jablonski, "It's super easy to fly. The copter can just maintain it's own balance. If you lose control you just let go and it balances out."
At 300 dollars, you could buy 100 of these for the same price as the one bought by the city of Caldwell.
Granted, it's nowhere near as good.
In the front and bottom of the chopper are two tiny cameras which constantly send a birds eye view to your smart phone. "And essentially the same controls here on this phone, it has different cameras and an altimiter on this one," says Jablonski.
The software your i-phone uses to control the craft can also record the video it sends back.
The video from the drone isn't spectacular quality, but it's good enough that if you wanted to fly up to a second floor window and look in, you could.
"I think if it goes over someone's yard and looks into their house, it's invading privacy in the backyard and crosses the line." says Jablonski. Most hobby sites on the web sell tiny color cameras with transmitters that can be fitted to any type of helicopter and unlike old gas powered choppers, electric power is pretty quiet.
So if one of these is floating outside your window, you'd hardly know it. Under Idaho code it is considered trespassing to cause any object to go over someone's property without permission. And peering inside someone's home is definitely an invasion of privacy.