The drone industry has exploded in the last few years, with thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands or even millions flying the skies around the world.
They’re used by law enforcement for investigations, private companies for checking power lines and such, news organizations for video, advertising companies for promotional shots and more.
And they’re used by neighbors, private investigators and snoops for spying on neighbors, subjects, or targets.
Now two Swiss lawyers say there’s a legitimate defense against such privacy violations.
Shoot them down.
Not with real guns, of course, but with things like a newly developed pistol that shoots a net that entangles the rotors of the drone and takes it to the ground. Or maybe a high pressure stream of water.
The recommendation comes from in a report in The Local, which explained the Swiss lawyers have concluded that if a drone is “invading your personal privacy you are entitled to shoot it down and aren’t liable for damages.”
“Drones are increasingly popular with private individuals in Switzerland for recreational use and to take aerial videos. But the remote-controlled craft can also be used by for spying on individuals or taking unauthorized photos – for example of people sunbathing on their balcony,” the report explains.
Most legal opinions before now have suggested there’s really not a lot a spy target could do in self-defense.
“But Basel lawyers Jascha Schneider-Marfels and Sebastian Kaufmann say that according to their interpretation of the law, people who are being spied upon by drones are justified in shooting them down,” the report said.
“A drone pilot who goes against the law by invading people’s personal privacy can expect that the person affected will defend themselves – whether with a high pressure water jet or a net gun,” Schneider-Marfels said in the report.
The lawyer expressed the opinion that self-defense would be justified in cases of a drone spying on someone in their personal sphere.
And there would be no liability for damages, Schneider-Marfels said. “Personal rights outweigh property protection rights in such cases.”
The one caution issued was that a drone should not be brought down in a way that could injure someone below.
Besides the idea of a shooting net to take down a drone, some police agencies have reported they are working on training eagles to take them down, the report explained.