Man catches drone hovering outside Vancouver apartment
A downtown Vancouver high rise-dweller is sounding the alarm after catching a drone apparently peeping into his 37th floor apartment.
Conner Galway told CTV News he spotted the camera-mounted quadrocopter hovering just feet away from his balcony on Sunday night.
“I didn’t want to be out there when I had no idea what this thing was, so we went back inside,” Galway said. “45 minutes later it was still buzzing around going next to other apartments, different people, different patios.”
Galway caught part of the drone’s journey on camera and uploaded the footage to YouTube. He also filed a complaint with police, and he’s far from the first.
Since May, 10 people have come forward to complain about obtrusive drones flying too close to places where there’s an expectation of privacy.
The Vancouver Police Department said anyone caught using drones to film people inside their homes could faces charges of voyeurism or criminal harassment.
“If someone is using one of these crafts to repeatedly or continuously follow or videotape somebody, and they’re concerned for their personal safety, that’s definitely something that we’re concerned about,” Cpl. Randy Fincham said.
Enforcing the laws could prove difficult, however.
Drones have traditionally been used for military surveillance in combat zones, but with cheaper commercial models available the devices are being operated by everyone from hobbyists to realtors.
Film companies and other commercial users require permits to fly drones, but recreational users don’t. That lack of rules is troublesome for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.
“Probably your drone at your window does not have a business card saying ‘Any complaints, please call [this phone number],’ so we have a logistical problem as well as a regulatory problem,” policy director Micheal Vonn said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Peter Grainger