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Whether it's for police to catch suspects, emergency responders to save victims, or journalists to capture video, drones can be a boon. But one place you don't want to see them is outside your bedroom window, spying on you.
Unfortunately, it's all too easy for them to do just that. To demonstrate, TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen simulated ordinary activities both downstairs and upstairs in a typical house. A drone was able to monitor him on both floors while hovering out of sight — even when he was in the bathtub. Even worse, drone operators can be out of sight as well.
“Spying is definitely illegal, whether you're a peeping Tom using a telescope or a drone it's illegal either way,” said Jeremy Gillula, tech policy director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but when Rossen asked him if it was considered trespassing, he said the laws are more complex. “It depends on how high up it is, what state you're in.”
When you buy a recreational drone, you’re supposed to register it with the FAA, but Gillula said most people don’t and the FAA isn’t really checking. The Rossen team even bought a few drones right off the shelf, paid for in cash, making it impossible to trace who owns them.