A New Zealand woman heard a buzzing noise outside her bedroom window late one night. When she peered out, she found herself face-to-face with a flying drone.
Marita Maass of Upper Hutt, New Zealand, was reading in her bedroom when she heard the buzzing. When she realized it was coming from outside the house she got up to see what it could be.
“I pulled the curtains away and there was this drone about two meters (6 feet) from my face; hanging there at my window with this little red light,” she told the Stuff website.
She recoiled in horror, drawing the drapes, cutting off the light, and leaping into bed.
“I felt violated, like my privacy has been invaded,” she told Stuff. “It was an absolute shock to me.”
Maass called the police who told her that there were no laws being broken.
Then she called the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the privacy commissioner.
When she asked around the neighborhood, she learned that several people had been harassed by drones while at family gatherings or while their children were playing.
The CAA reported 318 drone complaints in 2017, up from 199 in 2016, Stuff reported—and in almost two-thirds of those cases, the operator was never identified.
“What bothers me is there’s [companies] advertising drones for under $100 so any fool and his friend can buy one,” Maass told Stuff.
“There should be a law that says drones shouldn’t be used among private homes—go to a park.”
New Zealand laws prohibit flying out of the line of sight or flying over private property without prior approval.
However, the CAA is charged with enforcing these rules, so the police cannot get involved.
Possibly New Zealand lawmakers could copy the UK Drone Bill.
This law, published in draft form in November 2017, would allow law enforcement to order operators to land their drones if the police thought there was a problem or a potential problem. Officers would be able to seize drones they suspected were used in crimes.
Less aggressive but perhaps more important, anyone flying a drone of more than 250 grams (just under an ounce) would need to register the craft. Owners of drones weighing more than 250 grams would also be required to pass safety tests.
If such a law were passed, more of the peeping toms with flying video cameras would be identifiable—or perhaps arrestable.