Aerial drones and property rights - where should they meet?

Posted by BrettRocketSci 2 years, 1 month ago to Legislation
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A pretty good debate in recent Wall Street Journal article here. As someone who is part of the commercial aerial drone revolution, yet who also will respect property rights of everyone involved, we will need to figure this out. Hopefully the laws and regulations will accommodate and respect property rights of everyone involved. I'm not sure yet what the ideal solution should look like honestly. http://www.wsj.com/articles/should-yo...
SOURCE URL: http://www.wsj.com/articles/should-you-be-allowed-to-prevent-drones-from-flying-over-your-property-1463968981


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  • Posted by Hot_Black_Desiato 2 years, 1 month ago
    Easy...You fly your drone with a camera pointing at my house, and I see it, your Drone will be shot down by my 12 gauge. Which self-identifies as a Legal Pad, so it's all good.


    PULL!!!!
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    • Posted by 2 years, 1 month ago
      Funny and fair, to a point. There is a simple test for security camera systems - if you can see the camera, the camera can see you. But what happens when the drone is too far away to be seen or heard? Or targeted with any hope of accuracy? Camera and flight technology will advance to that point so we need to think about the legal framework now.
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      • Posted by Hot_Black_Desiato 2 years, 1 month ago
        Again easy. High powered bird shot. If a camera can see 100 yards with any precision it is probably NSA.

        My high powered bird-shot rounds self identify as trans-caliper measuring devices.
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        • Posted by jdg 2 years, 1 month ago
          The government probably has satellites good enough to read the license plates on your car, if they care enough to look.

          As with computer security, I don't think most people can protect against the government (again, if they care enough to look), so I wouldn't bother trying. But there are plenty of other potential threats we can and should protect against.
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          • Posted by  $  Enyway 2 years, 1 month ago
            Many threats, indeed. It is going to be a tough battle. We cannot know the extent of our government's arsenal, however, they are not using there minds. If they were, they would realize the hopelessness of their actions. We will prevail. I only hope it is while I still breathe and am conscience of the world.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 2 years, 1 month ago
    The use of privately owned drones stops at my property line. The use of drones equipped with cameras stops at the range of the camera. Due to drones and intrusive electronics, the right to privacy is being eroded so completely that soon there will be a right to privacy even though privacy will no longer exist.

    If I were to dream up a new money making enterprise, it would be to devise a way to void intrusive devices. With such a product, the demand would be quite high. I offer this idea freely and for only 10% of the net.
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    • Posted by johnpe1 2 years, 1 month ago
      lasers can harm visual drones' cameras, I bet. . buy
      one before they're outlawed, sir! -- j
      .
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      • Posted by Herb7734 2 years, 1 month ago
        Good idea.
        However, I'm not about to be standing guard with my handy-dandy laser 24/7. I'm thinking more of something you can set up and then leave it to do its job without you being bothered.
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        • Posted by johnpe1 2 years, 1 month ago
          just leave it by the door -- or in the kitchen handy --
          and make it a sport if you become annoyed. . ours
          is next to the refrig on the counter! -- j
          .
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          • Posted by Herb7734 2 years, 1 month ago
            Just my luck, the laser will miss the drone, hit a 777. They'll hunt me down, throw me in a dungeon and feed me bread, water and weevles.
            Or not.
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            • Posted by johnpe1 2 years, 1 month ago
              weevils? . such things need not disgrace our threshold,
              sir -- ve hav vays to make you talk .. who put you up
              to these shenanigans?! -- j
              .
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              • Posted by Herb7734 2 years, 1 month ago
                John
                Was your mom from Poland?
                Your repartee and sense of humor is so much like mine that we must be related. Your wife, like mine, is probably an expert at eye rolling.
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                • Posted by johnpe1 2 years, 1 month ago
                  mom was an englishwoman, but I have great friends
                  from poland! . one, who speaks 6 languages, can
                  roll her eyes with the best of 'em! . the BW can add
                  spice to any conversation, while rolling her eyes! -- j
                  .
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                  • Posted by Herb7734 2 years, 1 month ago
                    My grandfather was from Poland as well and also spoke several languages. I guess in those days you had to just to get along.

                    Speaking of eye-rolling, one of the disadvantages of living this long is when I tell a golden oldie, they not only roll their eyes, but finish sentences as well.
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                    • Posted by johnpe1 2 years, 1 month ago
                      BW and I have been together 19 years, now, and
                      that symptom is growing. . we try to be fresh and
                      creative ... oh, well!

                      when she finishes a sentence better than I would have,
                      I roll my eyes, trying to look like her! -- j
                      .
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  • Posted by rbroberg 2 years, 1 month ago
    Someone flies a drone within a certain height above my house, I shoot it down.
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    • Posted by dbhalling 2 years, 1 month ago
      Your property rights do not extend up to infinity or even the distance a gun will fire
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      • Posted by lrshultis 2 years, 1 month ago
        In the small village where I live, it seems property rights sometimes do not even extend to private property, only to whatever public privacy where, where unless a riot happens, the citizens have to put up with garage door tagging if left open, vehicles that do not move every 10 days being tagged as junk vehicles no matter how new, cops using binoculars to see through windows to catch someone toking, going through trash cans by side of house, etc. Drones are the least of worry here although out of control drones might be a problem.

        By the way, will there be another Hank Rangar novel?
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  • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 2 years, 1 month ago
    Hello BrettRocketSci,
    I don't see why the minimum ceiling restrictions placed on all aircraft should not apply except when operating a personal drone over private property with the landowner's permission. At the very least drones should only be allowed to fly over private property at altitudes too great for their cameras to gather detail sharper than google earth is allowed release. Technology should not allow one to effectively relocate their eyeballs and place them somewhere where they can violate your expectation of privacy in order to avoid physical trespass, yet accomplish the same violation. It is analog with allowing them to place hidden cameras on your property. In many states/cases this would violate "Peeping Tom Laws." http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/busi...
    Whether personal aircraft or government, the law is in flux, but it should not be so. It should adhere to previous decisions and respect the spirit of the Katz v. United States decision. http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/v...
    Unfortunately over time the courts have not been consistent in upholding the spirit of the forth amendment and protected our reasonable expectation of privacy and this new technology will only exacerbate the problem and expose the failure of our courts. If drones with powerful cameras are allowed to overfly your fenced, private back yard and view your activities without your knowledge and consent, they have clearly been allowed to violate your expectation of privacy. It will give the voyeurs carte blanche.
    Respectfully,
    O.A.
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    • Posted by khalling 2 years, 1 month ago
      great points on peeping tom laws. but we get used to cars travelling up and down the street. Google maps, google world. in the US, unless we have a gate, can cars pull up your driveway? If they do, are you running out with a shotgun. well, don't pull up a driveway in Arkansas. I did that once...it's disruptive like vehicles became in the early 1900s. they'll figure it out. and if they piss too many customers off (Amazon)-well, they'll have to pay their price.
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      • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 2 years, 1 month ago
        Hello khalling,

        Yes, we must get used to cars on the public right of way, which we as a society all need and enjoy. However, we adjust, build and choose our property according to our needs and desires based on existing conditions; that includes privacy. People choose, or are raised in environments with different amounts and expectations of privacy. Public property is public; private property is private.

        I have lived most of my life in a very rural setting. I have a driveway and a sidewalk to my front door where you will find a doorbell. I expect the occasional stranger, or delivery person to use those facilities. My back yard is fenced and surrounded by woods, except for a gated walkway down to my lake frontage. I do not expect to find people there without my prior knowledge and approval. I have the right to ask them to leave, I expect them to take their eyeballs with them. No? Now, some people live in the city right on top of each other and have different expectations. A jury of my peers made of local rural folk deciding what is a "reasonable expectation of privacy" may not be the same as a jury constituted of New York City folk. For me when it comes to privacy and the forth amendment, I will decide in favor of the privacy of the citizen.

        If Amazon wants to deliver by drone to my house, they haven't seen what my dog, if not restrained, does to a vacuum cleaner. :) Yes it will get worked out and I suspect what sounds like a good idea may turn out very differently. Now as far as delivering say, emergency supplies/medicine, to remote locations, while flying at a respectful altitude between... fine. Disturbing the peace, harassing livestock, or spying on your neighbor, etc., ... something will surely be worked out, but the drone owner may not approve, regardless of law.
        Regards,
        O.A.
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        • Posted by khalling 2 years, 1 month ago
          dear OA, you never know. I am wondering what my fathers' neighbors thought when an airplane landed in a corn field to deliver the first Scarlet Fever antibiotic and vaccine in the Midwest. Others in the family did not fare so well.My aunt was left deaf and his aunt died. We must respect private property. Yes, we will have to start putting signs in our yards (or you all will) stating what/who you allow on your property and what/who you don't. Come clean. You are no Amazon fan. :) those photo drones-I'd be shooting them down
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          • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 2 years, 1 month ago
            Dear K,
            Fair enough. I am good with emergency vehicles going about their business and I am not a fan of amazon, but my Wife is. That said: unless it is an emergency, I am good with standard delivery. The neighbor's photo drones, if disturbing the peace or worse, deserve to be taken down, by whatever means you feel justified in. If I am out hunting and my prey is not dropped immediately and manages to run onto someone else's property before falling, I have no right to trespass and retrieve it. Likewise, if someone's drone falls on my property (regardless of reason) the owner will have no right to trespass on my property to retrieve it. I see no reason why personal drones should not be treated the same way radio controlled hobby planes have been in the past. Friends of mine with remote controlled planes and helicopters have to fly them in places where they do not disturb their neighbors. Common sense and consideration for others is what is necessary. I do not think we needed the federal government to require registration. If your neighbor is disturbing you with their antics, you should be able to use existing law to have them cited for disturbing the peace at a minimum, or applicable peeping tom laws. If someone can turn the tables on the voyeurs, video the offending drone in action over their property, blast it with a shotgun and bring it down, then I believe their own video evidence should indemnify them. A shotgun would most likely be the gun of choice for such a purpose and most rounds in a 12 gauge shotgun have an effective range of much less than 300 feet. Drones flying higher than that will be hard to take down unless hovering and a rifle in skilled hands is used.
            How's that?
            Regards,
            O.A.
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            • Posted by 2 years, 1 month ago
              Thanks. Turning the tables, as you say, is the advantage that everyone has now with portable phones and cameras. People will need to be thoughtful enough to record what is happening for their own defense and protection. Also, we will have to learn (or relearn) how to talk to our neighbors! Maybe Amazon will give some "training" and guidance to their Amazon Air customers in that regard. In fact they are smart enough, they should be able to identify all nearby addresses for a customer and mail them a postcard notifying them that they will be seeing a drone flying in their neighborhood. That effort and expense will be a lot less than getting one of their drones shot out of the sky. I just discovered a little business opportunity I think...
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    • Posted by 2 years, 1 month ago
      Thanks for your thoughtful and referenced comment. Sure, we should be building and extending on existing laws and precedents. But technology is is changing at such a rate that we need to get smarter (and clearer) on the principles that the laws define and enforce. We have to imagine a world in which someone can fly a drone in a backyard but it can use a 50x or 100x zoom camera (or high powered directional microphone) to spy on the neighbors. There is inadmission of illegal evidence in court, but what about the people who operate outside of and above the law? Two separate questions... I have responses for both, but these are part of the debate we need to have.
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      • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 2 years, 1 month ago
        Hello BrettRocketSci,
        You are welcome. Yes, I think a conversation needs to be had with those that wish to operate such devices and common sense and consideration for your neighbors should be at the forefront. I believe existing laws that cover disturbing the peace and peeping tom laws should be sufficient, but I am willing to consider all concerns and arguments.
        Respectfully,
        O.A.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 years, 1 month ago
    Should use rules already established for manned aircraft. Simple.
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    • Posted by 2 years, 1 month ago
      Respectfully, the context for drones is significantly different. Manned aircraft are not trying to land on someone's front yard or back porch. But commercial delivery drones will be able to.
      I think we need a ceiling of 400-500 ft, until the drone reaches the target area and then it descends vertically to it. It should respect property lines during the descent and later ascent after the delivery. There shouldn't be any reason to dilly-dally around or wander around into other people's property lines. If it works well, it will be too fast for anyone with a gun. But I expect there will be people that set up automatic anti-drone systems that will cause signal or control interference with the drones if they have nearby neighbors, so this is going to be an issue that gets the lawyers and insurance companies (and lawmakers) involved. That's my prediction.
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 years, 1 month ago
        My point is the context for a starting point is already developed. The idea that drones don't have the altitude of manned aerial vehicles, and separately are planning to land (more often) than helicopters for example, as invited by receivers of packages, begins as a problem for the "intrudor" on others, not a problem we have all involuntarily accepted.

        If they can only fly 400-500 ft, ok. If they want to land regularly, ok. If they have less reliability and may drop on property or people, ok. All these intrusions are for the benefit of the operator and perhaps the clients of the operator, but are at the expense of others. If they fall, do naval rules for salvage apply?

        Identical laws for government and private citizens and companies.
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    • Posted by khalling 2 years, 1 month ago
      why not cars?
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 years, 1 month ago
        Because they don't fly over property? Isn't that the intrusion?
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        • Posted by khalling 2 years, 1 month ago
          shoot. when streets were first mapped out-did private property owners throw up cry? no peeping toms. there are rules on the books about that. but anyone can drive on your street and snap a pic. where were you when that was ok?
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          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 2 years, 1 month ago
            It was just the Allosaur back then. Totally agree, if people don't like the manned flight rules (which I haven't studied), those should be argued too. My original point was that this problem has already been visited and "solved", but people fail to apply common sense to the connection. The fact that drones can generally not reach the altitudes of manned aerial vehicles is not relevant to the problem. Particularly when 99% of the drones in question are manned, not autonomous.
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  • Posted by Riftsrunner 2 years, 1 month ago
    I know in some juridictions, owning the land confers property rights to the airspace above it. So in those areas, a drone within the property lines is trespassing and as such can be dealt with as if it's controller were actually bodily invading the property.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 2 years, 1 month ago
    Go to an open field, (with permission) or your own property...just like model airplane enthusiasts do.

    Then...if you do see one hovering over your house or in your window, you can assume it's government...and shoot it down.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 1 month ago
      There is an actual law which specified miniumum altitudes. Then there satellite systems such as are used by Google and then there is the government. Old Jack Bauer wasn't making that stuff up. What are you going to do about it? Judging the last three decades - nothing.
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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 1 month ago
    Invading your neighbor's airspace at, say, 20 feet off the ground would be considered trespassing by most private property advocates. But the spying vs. privacy arguments become more complicated when your drone is flying 150 feet above the ground, on your side of the property line, equipped with a high-resolution camera and a zoom lens.

    Too bad Ayn Rand never addressed this issue. :-)
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    • Posted by 2 years, 1 month ago
      I agree, at some point it becomes an obvious invasion of property and privacy. That's not the issue.
      As technology advances, when a homeowner can't even perceive of a drone within eyesight or earshot, yet it can look at you in your yard or through your window, this needs some help for us to figure things out. Those of us who respect property and privacy won't be the problem. It's the other people we have to worry about.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 1 month ago
        This is already a problem. There is established case law that if an officer can see through an unobstructed window into personal property (car or house) they can act on what they see regardless of a warrant. The problem is that in general, those officers have a reason for being there in the first place, where as a drone can be set on a pattern to wander by looking for the proverbial trouble. That is where we run into Fourth Amendment issues.
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  • Posted by mia767ca 2 years, 1 month ago
    there are drones and then there are space satellites that can track an individual from many miles up...where is privacy rights???...good question...
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  • Posted by mccannon01 2 years, 1 month ago
    IMHO, I predict the whole thing will morph into another giant taxpayer funded government alphabet soup pyramid with a convoluted regulation book rivaling the US tax code. A new and lucrative revenue stream will be generated for the legal system and a new army of little Napoleon bureaucrats will be let loose to slap around the citizenry (little Suzie next door can't be allowed to play with her new Barbie copter without government oversight!).

    Meanwhile, most personal drones will end up gathering dust in the closet because after the initial novelty wears off, they are just plain boring to keep fooling with or just too expensive to keep fixing after crashing. Add to that the crushing regulations needed to support and justify the new government alphabet soup pyramid mentioned above and it just won't be worth bothering with the darn things at all even if you're not bored and have a good reason for wanting to have one.
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    • Posted by 2 years, 1 month ago
      Thanks for your predictions. I would bet against these scenarios, however. The speed and efficiency of aerial scouting and delivery is too great to ignore. The amateurs and hobbyists may grow tired, but commercial interests will be pushing ahead. It's in our interests to promote innovation while respecting everyone's rights too.
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      • Posted by mccannon01 2 years, 1 month ago
        My sarcastic rant was mainly from the perspective of individual ownership. No doubt commercial endeavors will press forward as long as profitability can be achieved (here's a perfect example of capitalism at work). Commercial airlines are doing well even if they are support systems for various government alphabet soup pyramids. Same for the automotive industry. Personally, I'd like to see the drone industry flourish, but like the airline and automotive industries were able to do, I believe it will have to make a successful "presence" before the taxers and regulators can smother it. Poorly crafted legislation aimed at neighbor spying on neighbor can make it more difficult (expensive) to get a delivery drone off the ground.
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  • Posted by term2 2 years, 1 month ago
    Well, this argument also extends to whether you can shoot down or otherwise immobilize a drone flying over your house.

    This isnt well thought out yet, but if someone was annoying me and spying on me with a drone, I would see to it that it wasnt flying over my house. If it was a police drone, I probably would find a way to keep it from spying on me somehow in a non lethal and not noticeable fashion.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 2 years, 1 month ago
    with the advent of military-quality satellites, we lost
    our privacy sunbathing outdoors -- the only change
    is the audience, Brett. . now, those on the north side
    of St. Maarten can fly over the south side's nude beach
    and take a look, just like the satellite owners and
    their customers. . it's now interference with sunlight
    and the intrusion of noise / physical presence which
    must be fought. . if a drone "comes at" me, I have
    a shotgun ready. . if it's noisy and I'm listening to
    the birds, I have an alternative. . lasers are fun, too!
    the police are too far away and too slow. -- j
    .
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  • Posted by FelixORiley 2 years, 1 month ago
    All of this leads us to another of today's discussion points: Human vs individual "rights".
    Which is personal privacy?
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    • Posted by 2 years, 1 month ago
      Hi Felix. The only rights are for the individual, because we are human. If you are asking about the justification for privacy rights, that's better for a dedicated posting IMO. And it has probably already been made here in the Gulch...
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  • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 1 month ago
    One must distinguish between surveillance and photography drones and delivery drones. Amazon.com hopes to drone-fly instant shipments to their Amazon Prime customers within a year, or not much longer. Single-family residential owners can, of course, lay down a landing pad. But who defines the airspace through which a delivery drone may fly? I imagine the same kind of authority, or owner-operator, who owns and runs streets and roads.

    Then, too: apartment landlords will have to decide quickly whether they're going to restrict delivery drone activity that serves their tenants. Drone allowances will become a selling point for apartment hunters--and in an age when single-family residential living gives way to apartment or townhouse tenancy, that becomes increasingly relevant. (The total cost of ownership exceeds the total cost of tenancy for comparable dwelling space, especially when you include either (a) the mortgage, or (b) opportunity lost from having investment capital tied up as home equity.)

    Imagine: an Amazon Prime customer spreads a landing pad on the patio or balcony attached to his unit. But on the way, the drone drops the shipment, BONK! on someone else's head. Who's liable?
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    • Posted by 2 years, 1 month ago
      Thanks, these are very good distinctions and scenarios. But realistically, the observer can't tell if a drone has surveillance equipment on it or not. Or what type of surveillance. It could be visual, infrared, sound, cellular transmission... and this could be piggy-backed on a delivery drone.
      What I expect and hope will happen is that there is a reasonable vertical height to respect property lines, say 400-500 feet. The drone will have to fly in this higher airspace corridor and then make a vertical descent to its landing pad or zone. There doesn't need to be any loitering or drifting around for other reasons, all of which would create suspicion that there are other things going on that shouldn't be. If the landing zone has obstructions the drone will have to abort the mission promptly and return to base.
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      • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 1 month ago
        Add to it: if a delivery drone lingers over any site along the flight path, the customer is not getting the delivery service he paid for. This harm comes in addition to the damage to the reputation of the company. I can't imagine Amazon or any other shipping company letting drone operators do that sort of thing, and not punishing them severely when they catch them at it.
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