The use of drone across the United States is going higher by the day, and this might make skies become more crowded, as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) anticipates the sales of these unmanned aerial vehicles to move forward drastically to seven million in 2020 from about 2.5 million this year.
Drone Flight Over Your Property: To Illegalize or Not?
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The commercial and casual purposes interest in drones is increasing not only privacy and safety concerns but also bristly legal questions about when and where drones should be permitted to fly—and who has the authority to decide.
Some say property owners’ rights in general broaden up to about 500 feet, which afford them the right to forbid an unmanned aircraft from moving to and fro or flying over their land or property. They concluded by saying that drones gives a bigger threat to privacy and security than airplanes and jets, which go at a higher altitudes, in airspace as regulated by the FAA.
Other said drones will take the place of the next aviation frontier, and as such, decisions about when and where drones can fly should be collectively made, not through tort law by the land or property owners. They say had individuals been permitted to sue anyone who flew over their land with permission; the commercial air travel would never have been bloomed.
Some people are of the opinion that drones do not have and should not be given any legal right to fly over individual property in hostile challenge against the wishes of the landowners. Such over flight acts threaten both safety and privacy and destroy Fourth Amendment rights.
Exactly as the homeowners have a property rights extend to include the buildings and grounds that instantly surround a home, homeowners should have an enclosed land around the house. The property rights in an enclosed land give the homeowners to sell such land and, most importantly, the right to prevent others. The reserved approved navigable airspace limit approved by FAA is 500 feet, and lowering it further, on the other hand, would become a threat to lives and property, if care is not taken.
By reducing or removing the vertical curtilage would cause another serious effect: police would not likely need a warrant to do a drone investigation anywhere they want. In general, the government needs permission to trespass on any private property but need none to conduct surveillance in public places—this includes what the Supreme Court has called “public navigable airspace.” If the airspace above property is accessible to private drones, then it means the Fourth Amendment will become almost irrelevant.
Today, if anyone flies a drone over your property below the FAA’s 500 feet reserved airspace, that is definitely considered trespassing already. Those trespass counts because a drone is capable of carrying surveillance gear and can be monitored and controlled from a long distances or autonomously fly. Drones can record sounds, film, or listens in on Wi-Fi and other signals and not fence barricade is high enough to restrain them.
It is advisable to collectively act against the use of drones to overflight a private property. This move should be kicked against by all homeowners, but to leave the future of drones to individual homeowners is inefficient and unwise. “Keep off my lawn” is not the best way to manage, but we may soon come to see it as an inbuilt factor of our infrastructure delivery.
On certain occasion, the answer is the regulation or statute—not the shotgun or lawsuit.
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