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Phoenix Introduces Draft Ordinance To Criminalize Certain Drone Uses

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the no-using-drones-to-attack-mexico dept.

Crime 200

Fubar writes: Two city council members from Phoenix, AZ are introducing "draft language" for public discussion that would make it illegal to use a drone to film people without their knowledge. The council members are worred about privacy of people in their own yards, even including the requirement that law enforcement obtain a warrant for drone surveillance. A violation of the ordinance would be a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries up to a $2,500 fine and six months in jail.

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well (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47704659)

A) It needs to only be applied to Drones with Cameras
B) Do people legally have privacy in an uncovered yard? I don't think they do. I'm talk about legal, not rudeness.

Re:well (3, Informative)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 2 months ago | (#47704733)

B) that's pretty much the meaning of the proposed law, isn't it?

In my opinion people should have some privacy in their yard -- less, maybe, than indoors but still more than none. I welcome laws giving me some rights in that area.

Re:well (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 months ago | (#47705831)

What you welcome is unlawful. Sorry, but no.

Just because you would like some privacy due to rudeness doesn't mean it's anywhere near legal.

Re:well (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47704833)

A) it does, since it applies to taking photos. You can't really take a photo without a camera, can you?
B) Depends on how you try to protect it. In most locations, an attempt to be private means its private. I.E. a privacy fence means you have an expectation of privacy. Having sex in a public park doesn't count, but in your hot tub with a fence around that a normal person can't see over and you should be able to assume your actions are private.

Re:well (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47705161)

well, I can see my neighbors back yard from my deck. People who live o hills have plain sight of all the backyards below them, etc.

Are you seriously saying I can't take a picture from my back deck?

Re:well (3, Funny)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 2 months ago | (#47705575)

Sure, if you want to be a creeper.

Re:well (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 2 months ago | (#47705275)

Will the US need to get warrants to take satellite photos of Phoenix? What about taking an aerial photo of my neighborhood from a real plane (say, 2500 feet up)? A helicopter from 1000 feet?

What makes a drone unique, other than the presumed better resolution provided by presumed shorter distances?

Re:well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705453)

the presumed better resolution provided by presumed shorter distances?

Precisely!

A simple fence makes your intentions clear: you don't want people to observe (let alone record) the detail of what you're doing on your property.

A set of fuzzy blocks from a few thousand feet up merely confirm that you have a garden - that's not news, so barely an invasion of privacy. A detailed record of the people and their movements, OTOH, is clearly something you were trying to prevent by putting up your fence. A drone can defeat this, and it's best tackled with specific legislation (we all hate broad+vague legislation, right?) to prevent the use of aircraft in this way.

Re:well (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47705649)

Now look here. If Google can produce images from space with resolutions measured in centimeters, What do you suppose the capabilities of the United States government? I'm guessing that we are talking about at least one order of magnitude better, which if true, means they can see details down to 1cm or so. I'd bet that is enough to invade a lot of your backyard privacy,

I've seen aircraft based photos that are better than 1 cm resolution. I guess in Phoenix they are OK with any resolution you want, just so long as your image is big enough to cover a number of houses.

I'm thinking that they need to do this based on AGL. If your camera is below 1,000 ft AGL, you better be taking pictures of public locations or of multiple areas at a time. Or perhaps they could do a combination of AGL and being manned. If the aircraft is above 1,000 feet, OR if it is carrying a pilot, you are free to shoot what you want.

Re:well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705921)

I believe this ordinance applies specifically to unmanned aerial vehicles; airplanes and helicopters are generally manned and as such, are much larger, louder, and rarely discreet, which is I think the deeper intent behind this - that you are not unknowingly recorded.

A drone is distinct from a satellite in that there are many permits involved in being able to legally launch a satellite and one of the requirements therein is that it must stay above a minimum altitude. It would be interesting though about satellite photos; as you mention it is "presumed" resolution - I imagine there are existing satellites that can take pictures with comparable detail to the drones & cameras that this ordinance affects..

Re:well (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 months ago | (#47706021)

the fact that it can be smaller and therefore less noticeable than a person with a camera, presumably. Possibly also the fact that it can be in the yard while the operator is not, thereby calling into question whether it can be considered trespassing.

Re:well (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 2 months ago | (#47704853)

If the yard has a fence, then you legally have privacy. If it blocks light, then it officially turns anything in the yard from 'in plain sight', to covered, which means law enforcement can't use it as an excuse to enter your property.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47704883)

How are they going to prevent satellites from observing people in their yards?

Re:well (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 months ago | (#47704935)

How are they going to prevent satellites from observing people in their yards?

Satellites do not fall under this law's definition of "drone".

Re:well (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47705701)

How are they going to prevent satellites from observing people in their yards?

Satellites do not fall under this law's definition of "drone".

How can that be true? What's a drone? An unmanned flying machine? Satellites fly overhead, they are usually unmanned...

Personally, I think they should modify their law to allow pictures from aircraft above 1000 feet AGL, or from any aircraft that carries a human pilot at any altitude. The rest of the rules seem to make sense and seem to be enforceable. They might want to make flying an unmanned aircraft above 500 feet AGL which is not registered and approved by the FAA requires written permission from the city in advance.

Re:well (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#47704983)

B) Do people legally have privacy in an uncovered yard? I don't think they do. I'm talk about legal, not rudeness.

If they're not visible from a public location (E.G. behind a wall or otherwise hidden from the sidewalk), they're currently considered to have privacy under the law.

Looking at the upmodded comments in this and previous discussion, I'm actually quite disappointed in Slashdot... Usually, one of the battle cries here is "but on a computer doesn't make it different", and they're strong advocates of personal privacy. But drones... drones are cool. Drones are sexy. Drones are geeky. That seems to make "but using a drone" different and the issues of personal privacy go away.

Re:well (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705139)

This is an interesting contention, because what happens if a neighbor then builds a multistory building within "eyeshot" of your previously private yard? Does it then become a public location?
In my neighborhood Association rules limit privacy fences to less than 7'. This effectively means that yards are visible from the 2nd floor of neighbors houses.
So based on the "computer doesn't make a difference" does that men that since my neighbor can see in my yard from his 2nd floor window that using a drone (with a camera) to see in my yard is just the same?
After all since I know my neighbors can see into my yard I really don't have an expectation of privacy.

Re:well (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705535)

We shouldn't be treating "private" as a black and white designation. I don't know how it is handled under the law, but privacy tends to be a grey issue. In your example, your yard has limited privacy in that it is not readily viewable from public space, but some of your neighbors are in a privilaged position to have view of your otherwise private yard. These are not public spaces and are accessible to a limited number of people.

Re:well (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47705183)

So if I am looking down a hill from a sidewalk into a backyard?

The issue is due to elevation.

Re:well (5, Informative)

TVmisGuided (151197) | about 2 months ago | (#47705081)

Do people legally have privacy in an uncovered yard? I don't think they do. I'm talk about legal, not rudeness.

In the book The Law (In Plain English) For Photographers (ISBN 978-1-58115-712-3), attorney Tad Williams discusses the right of privacy as it applies to photographers. Two cases in point are mentioned: Dietemann v. Time, Inc. (284 F. Supp. 925, 1968) and Galella v. Onassis (487 F.2d 986, 1973). Those are the two cases most often cited as examples of the tort of "intrusion on one's seclusion", and are the basis of the doctrine of "reasonable expectation of privacy on one's own property". (I leave the review of those cases as an exercise for the student.)

The general rule of thumb for photographers is that if it can be seen from a public place, it can be photographed from a public place, UNLESS the subject being photographed is on their private property. Keeping in mind that anyone can be sued for anything at any time, it's best that a quadcopter operator err on the side of caution and make sure to NOT fly their aircraft in a manner that could be construed as attempting to make photographs of persons on private property without consent.

Of course, it may require a few people having their expensive quadcopters blown out of the air by a well-placed shotgun round to get that message across.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney and am not qualified to give legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney with experience in the subject matter for definitive legal advice regarding a particular situation. I am, however, a photographer, and make it a point to keep up with laws and ordinances that affect my enjoyment of the hobby of photography.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705147)

use a gun, it fixus ever'tine! derp derp. yeehaw.

Re:well (1)

dunkindave (1801608) | about 2 months ago | (#47705207)

The general rule of thumb for photographers is that if it can be seen from a public place, it can be photographed from a public place, UNLESS the subject being photographed is on their private property.

I think there are a lot of missing caveats here since if your statement is taken literally, then you are not allowed to take a picture from the sidewalk of me standing in my front yard which is on my private property. It would also make a lot of the Google StreetView a crime.

Re:well (1)

TVmisGuided (151197) | about 2 months ago | (#47705467)

I think there are a lot of missing caveats here since if your statement is taken literally, then you are not allowed to take a picture from the sidewalk of me standing in my front yard which is on my private property. It would also make a lot of the Google StreetView a crime.

...which is why it's a general rule of thumb. And Google Street View would be required to obtain a model release before publishing a photo with you in it, if you can be recognized in that photo. Also, while they could conceivably publish that photo, they could NOT publish a photo of you standing inside your house, because that would be an intrusion on your seclusion.

There's also a new anti-paparazzi law coming onto the books in California, meant to strengthen the one passed a few years ago by including celebrities' children under its umbrella. Whether it passes Constitutional muster remains to be tested in court.

Re:well (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#47705145)

B) Do people legally have privacy in an uncovered yard? I don't think they do. I'm talk about legal, not rudeness.

In my state, the answer is Very Definitely Hell Yes.

It is strictly illegal for anybody (including law enforcement without a warrant) to use ANY means to view something on your property that isn't clearly visible to a common pedestrian or vehicle going past. That means, for example, that it's illegal for anybody (including police) to so much as use a stepladder to see over your back fence. It is termed "illegal surveillance" and the law was in place long before drones existed.

It's even illegal to stare in my front window from the sidewalk, or with binoculars, even if my curtains are open. Same law. You can look in as you go past, of course. But you can't "watch" for a long time.

Re:well (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 months ago | (#47705187)

So have they issued warrants against Google yet?

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705181)

B) Do people legally have privacy in an uncovered yard?

Yes, especially so if they have a privacy fence.

For example, if my wife is sunbathing in the backyard, and you climb our privacy fence to peep at her, you're not only, obviously, invading her privacy, you're breaking several laws, criminal trespass among them.

Instead of thinking "unmanned drone," think "autogyro pilot." If an action would be morally or legally wrong for an autogyro pilot to commit, it's wrong for a drone pilot to commit.

-- CanHasDIY, posting AC because my browser isn't letting me log in :(

Re:well (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 months ago | (#47705879)

A) It needs to only be applied to Drones with Cameras

The ability to fly out of visual range is what a drone is. Otherwise it's just an RC helicopter or plane.

(I guess a drone without a camera could navigate solely by GPS, but it's hard to imagine the usefulness of that; without a camera it couldn't even deliver a payload with decent accuracy.)

Sounds wishy-washy (1)

Snotnose (212196) | about 2 months ago | (#47704711)

Without their knowledge? You and your gf (or bf) are getting busy in the back yard and you see a drone. That drone can now film away as you know about it.

Re:Sounds wishy-washy (3, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47704845)

The law will use the word 'consent', not 'knowledge' Don't assume shitty slashdot summaries are ever going to be written into law.

Re:Sounds wishy-washy (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47705765)

Don't assume shitty slashdot summaries are ever going to be written into law.

Don't assume they won't either. These are city politicians, which means they are either on their way up and have a lot to learn, or have reached their maximum level of stupidity. However, this is Phoenix, which should at least have some competent lawyers actually drafting the final laws, but a city lawyer is going to be in the same boat as the politicians, wither on their way up with lots to learn, or already maxed out.

Photographic law precedence (4, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 months ago | (#47704723)

From TFA

Two City Council members today will unveil a draft ordinance that would make it a crime to use a drone to film, audiotape or photograph people on their private property without their consent.

Which basically goes against well established photography law that basically says if you can see it from a public location then its fair game.

OTOH I'm not sure how you can reasonably legislate pics taken from drones. Do you now define a private location to include the airspace above it? But what if I am in public airspace, yet high enough to see over a wall?

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

cirrustelecom (1353617) | about 2 months ago | (#47704775)

it a crime to use a drone to film, audiotape or photograph people

So I can fly first person then...

Re:Photographic law precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705381)

Except that the FAA outlawed that.

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47704865)

No, not really.

You can't climb a ladder and take pics of some girl sunbathing in her backyard legally if she is behind a privacy fence that you had to go out of your way to see over, that includes using a drone to do so.

If you have to take explicit action to circumvent something providing privacy, you don't magically get a free pass for doing so and more than you get a free pass for robbing a hows because the door was unlocked.

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 2 months ago | (#47705067)

You can't climb a ladder and take pics of some girl sunbathing in her backyard legally if she is behind a privacy fence that you had to go out of your way to see over, that includes using a drone to do so.

Who said a ladder is required? From the second floor of a house you can often see much of a neighbors yard when there is only a man sized fence.

Sometimes a bigger fence is required, just ask Todd Palin: http://xfinity.comcast.net/blo... [comcast.net]

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47704933)

And this is why as technology changes, we probably should at least consider new laws.

Having sex in your fenced, backyard hot-tub when you live next door to a skyscraper or under a cliff is asking to be watched.
Having sex in your fenced, backyard hot-tub when you live in a tract home in the Phoenix suburbs isn't.

Municipal legislation that says you can't spy with camera drones seems reasonable -- provided you can draft the laws right.

n.b. I'm a resident of Phoenix.

Re:Photographic law precedence (2)

hondo77 (324058) | about 2 months ago | (#47705093)

Having sex in your fenced, backyard hot-tub when you live next door to a skyscraper or under a cliff is asking to be watched.
Having sex in your fenced, backyard hot-tub when you live in a tract home in the Phoenix suburbs isn't.

Coming soon: drone porn. "I was flying my new drone around the neighborhood for the first time when you won't believe what I caught my sexy neighbor doing with the pool man!"

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47705239)

While my example was to illustrate my point about the expectation of privacy, you're not allowed to surreptitiously film nude people, or people using the restroom in Arizona already.

http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDoc... [azleg.gov]

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 2 months ago | (#47705219)

... provided you can draft the laws right.

And thats always the trick. As well as enforcement, which in this case will be almost impossible.

Perhaps empowering people to enforce for themselves: "to interfere with or damage a drone operating over your property or engaged in warrantless surveillence of your propertry, shall be a violation punishable by up to $1 for each occurence". Make it legal by making it illegal. Sort of a cheap drone-hunting license.

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47705285)

Arizona law doesn't afford that. It simply has maximum fines and imprisonment terms for each class of felony or misdemeanor, and then it's up to the court.

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 2 months ago | (#47705409)

They certainly have violations, which are below misdemeanors. Thats what speeding tickets and parking violations are. By making it specifically a violation, with a maximum fine of $1, supercedes any general application of higher charges.

Not my idea - got it from this beat up a flag burner [philly.com] law.

Re:Photographic law precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705737)

It would not circumvent civil law. Drone owner could still sue, and making illegal in any way would give the drone owner even more justification.

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 months ago | (#47705029)

Not to mention it would've given Barbra Streisand the legal ammo to defeat the Streisand effect [wikipedia.org] . I expect Google and Bing will make sure this doesn't get out of hand, before they're forced to devote more resources to policing their satellite/aerial photo maps than they currently are abiding by the EU's right to be forgotten law.

Re:Photographic law precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705237)

No, it is unlikely that this proposed law would have helped Babs avoid the Streisand effect. I had to check the pictures when that was it was in the news(way to go Babs) to see what the big deal was about and I don't remember any people being in the pictures, which is what the proposed ordinance apparently has to do with

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 months ago | (#47705265)

If a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, peeping tom laws already say you cannot look or take photos. So it doesn't appear that the proposed law will bring any meaningful benefit. It's bloatware.

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 months ago | (#47705291)

If a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, peeping tom laws already say you cannot look or take photos.

Tell that to the paparazzi. There is a whole industry devoted to finding public locations where you can spy on celebs, and then using the longest telephoto lens needed to get the shot.

Re:Photographic law precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705631)

Celebrities are legally considered public figures, and public figures have far fewer rights to privacy under the law. That's how the paparazzi can do what they do.

Re:Photographic law precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705597)

Law needs to evolve to keep up with the times. By your reasoning all traffic law should be as it was in the days of the cart and buggy because to change it would go against well established transportation law.

Re:Photographic law precedence (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 months ago | (#47705641)

There is a fine line here. R/C aircraft are absolutely legal, so making specific behaviors illegal without infringing Liberty is tricky. The solution needs to be INCREDIBLY narrow.

drones are the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47704729)

The Article claims that

[...]the growing popularity of drones [...]creates a pressing need for new regulations because existing airspace and privacy laws have too many gray areas.

Why on earth do they think they need to regulate drone use? That would be an excellent opportunity to get some proper privacy laws, like the EU has.

Re:drones are the problem? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47704941)

When does amending privacy laws to say "you can't use drones instead of ladders" become a "drone law" and stop being a proper privacy law?

Law Enforcement (1)

AlecDalek (3781731) | about 2 months ago | (#47704751)

Well, as long as it also applies to law enforcement, not just ordinary citizens, I'm okay with this. The the majority of the people don't like this law, they can vote these officials out of office in the next election.

Re:Law Enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47704857)

Silly boy. Of course it also applies to law enforcement. That is, as long it is still a draft. In the final version the warrant requirement will be dropped, because it is not prudent, obviously.

Too specific (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 months ago | (#47704755)

Is there already a law about filming someone without their knowledge? If there is it's all that is needed. No need to add "On the internet"...I mean "with a drone" to it. If not then why should it be illegal for use with a drone? Would that mean that it is illegal to do with a drone but perfectly legal if I am using a jetpack? It's just like having a specific no texting and driving law when it's already illegal to drive distracted. Just start enforcing the law already there!

Re:Too specific (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47704813)

No. In fact, if you are in public, then you can be filmed.
As it should be.

Re:Too specific (1)

soft_guy (534437) | about 2 months ago | (#47705671)

No, there isn't a law against filming or photographing someone in a public place with or without their knowledge.

Stupid (1)

backslashdot (95548) | about 2 months ago | (#47704827)

I am 100% in favor of privacy, but there are places you shouldn't expect privacy. For example if you have your lights on and the windows open you can't expect the right to privacy from the street. If you want to get it on with your partner in your backyard without cover, that does entail a privacy risk. You don't have the right to the airspace of all angles to your home. I mean with adequate zoom you could be filmed or watched from an airplane or satellite too. The way I see it, if I have the right to be someplace, I also have the right to record what I see.

Re:Stupid (2)

slew (2918) | about 2 months ago | (#47705663)

I also have the right to record what I see.

Sadly, you do not have the absolute right to record what you see. For instance being in your hotel room and having someone film you from a peephole in the door. Even though you might be able to see it when you are standing in a public place, you have no right to record what you can see.

If the subject of the photography is in public (as opposed to a publically accessible, but privately owned place), courts have basically ruled the subjects have no expectation of privacy, so most photographic recording is fair game. This is how paparazzi get many of their photos legally...

If the photographer is in a non-public area (e.g., the publically accessible, but privately owned hotel hallway), courts have ruled that public access rules do not apply.

The grey area is when the subject is in a non-public area, but the photographer is in a public area (e.g., a drone in "public" airspace, above a private residence).

AFAIK and IANAL, the line is generally drawn that invasion of privacy requires a recording device of some sort in these situations. It stems from the idea that invasion of privacy requires the publicizing of private life of an individual that is offensive to a "reasonable" person and/or not of legitimate concern to the public. I suppose w/o a recording device, you often cannot effectively publicize it so it falls outside typical invasion scope... And of course the definitions of "offensive" and "reasonable" are generally left up to the courts to decide...

Redundant laws weaken the system (2)

TVmisGuided (151197) | about 2 months ago | (#47704837)

It's already an accepted standard of law that people have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" when on their own property, including in their vehicles. Thus, photographing them by ANY means (my emphasis) is already illegal unless supported by a lawfully-obtained surveillance or search warrant. To single out "drones" as a means of obtaining photos or video is knee-jerk at best, and arguably could lead to severe restrictions on photography in general.

It's sad that there are some (for lack of a better term coming to mind) quadrotor-cowboys that are more interested in whether they CAN obtain footage using their newfangled toys than stopping to think about whether they SHOULD. Those are the ones that will poison the well for legitimate experimentation and application, such as search and rescue, crop monitoring, etc. Before the dust has settled, the moneyed interests will make sure that the only players allowed to take to the air are Department Of Defense contractors, and if people aren't careful, even the radio-controlled-model industry will find itself under the heavy end of the regulatory hammer, even more so than when the FAA issued its "interpretation of the special rule for model aircraft" [faa.gov] in July. That "interpretation" alone could, IMO, completely destroy the first-person-view mode of operation if followed to the letter.

Just my 2p worth...save up the change for a spool of Cat6 or something.

Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 months ago | (#47704893)

quadrotor-cowboys that are more interested in whether they CAN obtain footage using their newfangled toys than stopping to think about whether they SHOULD

No doubt when film cameras were first invented people went apeshit about them too. Most aerobot operators are totally responsible, but there are always a few exceptions in every population.

Society will just accept these risks and move on, like in every other situation with new technology. Our problem is we have a caste that calls themselves "lawmakers" and so all they want to do is make new laws.

As the meme goes, "WTF - stop banning shit."

Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 months ago | (#47705433)

Our problem is we have a caste that calls themselves "lawmakers" and so all they want to do is make new laws.

Unsurprising, when you are ruled by lawyers. Poking around demographics on Congress, we find about 40% of members with a law degree (over 50% in the Senate). In contrast, only 2% of them are scientists or engineers...

Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47705233)

It's already an accepted standard of law that people have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" when on their own property, including in their vehicles. Thus, photographing them by ANY means (my emphasis) is already illegal unless supported by a lawfully-obtained surveillance or search warrant.

Then why don't the paparazzi get convicted when they take long range shots of people on their own property? I see little legal difference between a drone hovering off property and a person climbing a tree or standing on a hill off property. Just look at the number of helicopters around celebrity weddings. What is the difference between a drone and a helicopter except size and placement of a pilot. Those helicopter shots are not illegal; why should similar drone shots be illegal?

Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (1)

TVmisGuided (151197) | about 2 months ago | (#47705413)

Then why don't the paparazzi get convicted when they take long range shots of people on their own property? I see little legal difference between a drone hovering off property and a person climbing a tree or standing on a hill off property. Just look at the number of helicopters around celebrity weddings. What is the difference between a drone and a helicopter except size and placement of a pilot. Those helicopter shots are not illegal; why should similar drone shots be illegal?

One question: are any complaints being filed against the helicopter pilot?

Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47705609)

Considering there are so many complaints in the media about the helicopters I would think that at least one lawyer would lodge a complaint with the police if it was illegal. I can't find any.

Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705685)

Then why don't the paparazzi get convicted when they take long range shots of people on their own property?

Because they are taking picures of public figures who under the law have far fewer rights to privacy. If they were taking photos of you or me, we could sue the company that published the photos and possibly get a restraining order put on the photographer. If they were particularly focused on us, it's even possible that stalker charges could be considered. No such luck for a celebrity.

Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705395)

Unfortunately for your thread title, it's contradictory laws that weaken the system. Redundant laws simply add more penalties to a given offense.
A single event can be classified as a felony, four distinct misdemeanors, and a minor traffic citation. This gives a judge (or jury) many options of how harshly they want to punish a perpetrator. The lenient case judges that the event did not warrant any of the criminal charges and issues the traffic citation at a mild fine. The harsh case judges that the event fully fit the conditions of the strictest criminal case and decides that all the fines are cumulative and all the imprisonment time is sequential. In between you have such things as concurrent prison sentences and other ways to show greater leniency than the sum of minimums.

Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705423)

Yeah but what you state goes against the rules that say if you can photograph something from a public space then it's public.

I'm pretty sure all laws are written by morons.

EVEN including? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47704841)

We've come a long way. Apparently domestic spying on people and sniffing in their private life has become common enough that we consider it a surprise when someone has the outlandish idea that the executive should first get a warrant for it...

You don't want to be in Joe Arpaio's jail (1)

bfmorgan (839462) | about 2 months ago | (#47704849)

This will have a chilling effect on hobbies in AZ. Joe Arpaio's jail is a deterrent like no other jail in the USA.

Re:You don't want to be in Joe Arpaio's jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47704951)

If you're white, you don't have to worry about about Apraio's jail/tents.

Re:You don't want to be in Joe Arpaio's jail (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47704981)

This is a feel-good law.

The PPD isn't going to be out with binoculars searching for copter pilots. At best a your neighbor is going to call them on a nuisance call and make them knock on your door and ask that you quit bothering your neighbor so they can go back to not bothering you.

I anticipate the Arizona Republic running a story in a few years about how some New Times reporter flew a copter over Arpaio's or Mark Brvinovich's back yard and how they could be impacted by this pointless and obscure law.

That's it. It's another lasers-at-airplanes law. :/

Re:You don't want to be in Joe Arpaio's jail (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47705201)

". It's another lasers-at-airplanes law"
You're pretty god damned clueless.

Re:You don't want to be in Joe Arpaio's jail (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47705319)

And, as established previously, you're a dick. ...since we've gone from 0 to name-calling in 1 post.

This law, like a lasers-at-airplanes law, won't be enforced by a bunch of police running around with binoculars. It won't be actively enforced by anyone at all. It'll stop a few people from spying on their neighbors (by increasing awareness), but won't otherwise do much except remind people that, like shining a light at planes, spying on your neighbors is bad. A few people will be caught after-the-fact and they'll throw this silly charge at them -- which will be pointless since there are already other things to charge them with.

Re:You don't want to be in Joe Arpaio's jail (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47705847)

No, actually the laws about pointing lasers at airplanes is routinely enforced, so he's right, you are clueless.

That little prank is incredibly dangerous and the penalties for breaking that set of laws are pretty steep. Just because it is really difficult to find some yahoo with a laser pointer, doesn't mean they don't try, and sometimes succeed.

Re:You don't want to be in Joe Arpaio's jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705851)

No, he may be rude, but he is right about you being clueless. The " lasers-at-airplanes law" is federal law and it has been used to bring down the wrath of the Feds on more than one person (it is a Felony). Check out some of the convictions on laserpointersafety.

Re:You don't want to be in Joe Arpaio's jail (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705113)

Joe Arpaio's jail is a deterrent like no other jail in the USA.

Then why are they so crowded?

Joe has a big mouth, but when it comes to actually reducing crime, he has the worst performance numbers of any sheriff in the Southwest. He's the Doctor Oz of crime.

Re:You don't want to be in Joe Arpaio's jail (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 2 months ago | (#47705281)

Yes, why Joe's jail has decreased, whoops, I mean INCREASED crime in the serviced area.

armed drones guarding my property (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47704911)

if they ban that that defeats the entire purpose

Worred (1)

Koyaanisqatsi (581196) | about 2 months ago | (#47704925)

Me? I'm worred too, a lot!

Privacy, not drones. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | about 2 months ago | (#47704959)

First, I'm almost positive that Arizona can't regulate use of its airspace, including the reasons for use.

Second, this seems like a bad idea. The problem is not drones, it's a lack of comprehensive privacy protection. With well-defined expectations for privacy, it won't matter how those expectations are violated or what technology is used to do it. Address privacy, and the rest will follow naturally. (And good luck expecting privacy in outdoor spaces.)

Re:Privacy, not drones. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | about 2 months ago | (#47705039)

Oh, forgot to mention that this law is basically unenforceable, which makes it a bad law. If my neighbor is flying a drone, and I presume that he's behaving lawfully (as I should) and not filming me, then there's no justification to get a warrant to see if he actually was recording me. OTOH, if his use of a drone is itself a reasonable suspicion, then no one can use drones, period. (Or planes, or satellites, or telescopes.)

Re:Privacy, not drones. (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47705915)

Further, they specifically give you an "out" if you, A. Don't upload the pictures/videos to the internet. B. Agree to delete any videos collected. So if the police walk up when you are flying the drone over the neighborhood's well known nude sunbather, all you have to do is delete the recordings. So you say, "Sorry officer, I will delete that data right now."

Just don't get caught with such pictures or upload them at a later date...

$2,500 == 6 months? 1 year or $1000? (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47704999)

Somewhat off-topic, TFS mentions the penalty is up to six months in jail or a $2,500 fine. I've noticed recently the fine vs jail time often seems quite out of balance. Somewhere I saw 1 year or $1000. I'd rather pay a $1000 fine than spend a WEEK in jail, much less a YEAR. Does anybody know why the fines are always so low compared to the jail time?

I'd think it would be in the state's interest to do the opposite- collect a $5,000 fine from someone rather than housing them in jail for six months.

Re:$2,500 == 6 months? 1 year or $1000? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 months ago | (#47705083)

IANAC[riminal] so I have no first hand experience but I don't think you get to pick which penalty you receive.

Re:$2,500 == 6 months? 1 year or $1000? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47705223)

Correct. As stated, those are simply the misdemeanor-1 maximums in Arizona, and as such, the actual punishment could be anywhere in the range of 0-180 days, or 0-2500 dollars. [Plus court costs.]

Re:$2,500 == 6 months? 1 year or $1000? (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47705179)

This is simply based on AZ misdemeanor sentencing maximums.

ARS 13-707 [azleg.gov] says that a Class 1 Misdemeanor (the highest class before a felony) has a maximum sentence of six months. 13-802 [azleg.gov] has the maximum fine: $2500. What the actual possible sentence for this particular crime would be is entirely different. [Also, it's unlikely that someone guilty of a this crime, unless the AG's office wanted to make an example of someone, wouldn't plead guilty to a lesser charge, which happens, like, always.]

It's worth noting that court costs can add nearly $1000 to small things. I think the going rate is $800 or so now in surcharges, depending on what municipality and court you happen to be in.

Regardless, 6mo/$2500 is just the maximum limit on a Misdemeanor-1 in AZ.

---

Surreptitious photographing, videotaping, filming or digitally recording or viewing [azleg.gov] is already illegal in Arizona, by the way, and is already up to a Felony-4.

So, drones, schmones.

Beats Ferguson Mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705009)

where you get a death sentence for walking in the street. Two shots to the head. Two to the torso. One to the groin. One to the leg. Covered all the bases.

Re:Beats Ferguson Mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47706035)

After robbing a store, and shot in the FRONT as he re-approached an officer he just assaulted. If you are to the point where you must open fire on somebody, you keep shooting until they stop advancing. You also shoot at the center of mass as best you can because the goal is to STOP their advance.

I don't know if the officer was justified or not, but he did require medical attention after the fact and there is evidence that that this could have been justified. If the officer was being rushed by a man who just assaulted him, it seems totally justified to open fire and if it took six rounds to stop his advance, that's what it took. We shall see.

Sounds pretty good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705079)

It seems to be pretty common sense, balancing privacy, civil & property rights. It might need some tweaks but overall it seems to be good (at least based on the article which doesn't seem to have a link to the draft law). My biggest concern would be the specific wording of the laws sections, I can just see property owners being harassed over video/images of their own property (with or without people/trespassers), video of protests/police conduct being deleted, etc due to some poor/vague wording.

Missing the point? (1)

DrPeper (249585) | about 2 months ago | (#47705089)

Is this legislation (and I am a Phoenix resident) about legislating a solution to the inescapable problem, or is it merely a method to subjugate those who film illegal activities, most likely perpetrated or endorsed by the same government?

Peeping Toms (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 months ago | (#47705123)

Here in Vancouver it seems Peeping Toms have started using drones to peer into high rise apartments:

https://twitter.com/Conner_G/s... [twitter.com]

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/... [www.cbc.ca]

I would say the era of the legal 'personal drone' is rapidly coming to an end. Some people can't use them responsibly, so like everything else fun they will be banned.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Seems like an odd double-standard (2)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47705143)

This ordinance doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to me, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it struck down if it passes.

The way privacy law works now is that if you're standing in your yard and are plainly visible from a public area (the street), you can be photographed without your consent because you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. There is an exception for things like fences and tall hedges and the like, but for the most part, if you can see it without trespassing on someone's land it's fair game.

Under this ordinance, I could photograph my neighbor mowing his lawn with a regular camera, but doing so with a drone would be in violation. I'm surprised they didn't simply say "Existing laws and regulations governing photography and the right to privacy also apply to cameras mounted on drones."

The ban should be more specific (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705197)

I'm all for banning use of drones and other means of specifically filming someone in their own backyard without their knowledge. On the other hand, in the not too distant future we might have drones delivering packages to peoples' homes, searching for lost people and/or pets, or doing some other useful stuff, where cameras may be helpful for navigating around obstacles etc. Filming should be allowed for such purposes, but heavy penalties should be placed on storing, distributing or otherwise misusing such footage without a valid reason.

Only drones and police helicopters? (2)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about 2 months ago | (#47705377)

The good council members need to find a more important topic to occupy their time. Flying a drone over someone's yard is bad, but flying a news helicopter over it is just fine? How about kites with cameras on them? Balloons? African swallows?

Ferguson (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 2 months ago | (#47705393)

watching livefeeds of the Ferguson riots, I keep thinking the press could use drones for videoing or at least placing cameras in convenient places l;ike on top of lampposts.

Nicely done, Phoenix (1)

LessThanObvious (3671949) | about 2 months ago | (#47705441)

This is exactly the kind of legislation we need nationally. Whatever we make OK for the public will automatically be OK for law enforcement. I don't consider a house with a six foot fence around the yard to be lacking in an expectation of privacy. We should have a right not to have gadgets flying in the airspace above our property. Just because an individual or a member of law enforcement can take that which is not in plain view and cause it to be in plain view by taking photos from a vantage point that defies reasonable expectation does mean it should be allowed.

Law Won't Work (2)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 2 months ago | (#47705443)

Any modern satellite can get photos of you from space. Any plane passing over can also snap pics as well. Beyond that anything in public view is fair game. Obviously if you are concerned about privacy you should have a roof and walls around you. Can you imagine a balloonist shooting pics of his voyage and accidentally getting people in the background of the pics? In essence if anything is private it needs to be tightly held aside and never shared with anyone in any way. Many people are expanding the concept of privacy rather foolishly. We are also encouraging all manner of crimes by disallowing voice recordings in many situations. How many seniors have been violated by dishonest sales tactics in their homes? Yet it is a crime to record voice. It is time for people to take responsibility for their deeds and words instead of allowing people to commit all kinds of crimes and encouraging lies.

unintended consequences (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 months ago | (#47705505)

Doesn't this pretty much eliminate any usage of a camera equipped drone anywhere in the city? How could you avoid filming bystanders if you were filming anything using a drone -- a high school football game, for instance.

I understand the reasons for the law -- we don't want people intentionally flying drones in areas where privacy would be expected -- and I include a back patio in that definition, if the owner has made a reasonable effort to make it a private space. But I'm concerned that a too-broad interpretation would ban all uses where there is any chance of unintentionally filming a stranger.

Photographers deal with this issue frequently. It's generally understood that if I take a photo of a street or a building, I don't need signed releases from every passer-by. But if I put my camera on a pole and raise it over the fence in someone else's enclosed back yard, I could get arrested (and would deserve to). Now that I think about it, wouldn't privacy issues regarding drones be covered by existing law?

A ban to prevent illegials from being spotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705747)

Lawmakers wouldn't want their slave workforce from being stifled now would they? I can just imagine how many amateur drone pilots are taking it upon themselves to watch the border, and preventing those free votes for lawmakers from entering the US scott free.

Targeted assasinations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47705901)

They aren't explicitly 'criminalized'.

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