Friday, July 31, 2015

Rural man shoots down drone flying over his house; said it was an invasion of privacy

A rural Kentucky man, saying a drone hovering near his home on Sunday was an invasion of privacy, shot it down with a shotgun, Ryan Cummings reports for WDRB 41 in Louisville. Hillview (Best Places map) resident William H. Merideth "was arrested and charged with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment. He was booked into the Bullitt County Detention Center and released on Monday."

The owner of the drone, who estimated its cost at $1,800, said he was taking photos of a friend's house, Cummings writes. But Merideth, whose teenage daughter was in the backyard laying out by the pool, said he saw the drone as as threat. Merideth told Cummings, "I went and got my shotgun, and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property.' Within a minute or so, here it came. It was hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky. I didn't shoot across the road; I didn't shoot across my neighbor's fences; I shot directly into the air."

Incidents such as this have led some to fear that unregulated drones use could  lead to "a modern version of the Wild West" in the skies. In June 2014, the National Park Service banned drones in all parks and areas it manages. In August 2014 a tourist crashed a drone into Yellowstone National Park. Also in August 2014 drones were banned over the Appalachian Trail and in parks in Utah and Colorado, and a drone was reported flying over an NFL game. FAA in February drafted limits on drones, but final rules could still be two or three years away.

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