In the domestic drone debate, critics have argued that personal drones will usher in an era of rampant DIY surveillance, with cameras in the sky everywhere you turn. Proponents of that view have more ammunition this week, as an upstate New York man was arrested and faces felony charges for allegedly using a drone to film outside a medical exam room.
"I truly realize that I should have asked first but did not think it would be an issue."
David Beesmer, 49, flew a drone within 15 feet of a hospital window where patients were being examined, according to a police report. There, Beesmer's drone — a DJI Phantom 2, according to his Facebook page — was reportedly seen by patients and staff at the hospital. On Tuesday, Beesmer excitedly posted videos of the hospital to his page, but yesterday he apologized: "I truly realize that I should have asked first but did not think it would be an issue....only to discover that it sure is..." Beesmer was released from custody and will face the charges at a later date. He said the drone was unable to see through the tinted hospital windows.
Cases like this still aren't an everyday occurrence, but as drone adoption rises in the United States, we'll likely see more incidents. This week, the Federal Aviation Administration also announced that it was investigating whether a drone that filmed a congressman's wedding was a violation of FAA regulations on commercial drones.