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Thought only celebrities have problems with invasion of privacy? Police stations around the UK reported that for the past two years, increasing amounts of complaints have been received on invasion of privacy via drones. Police data also suggests a sharp increase of drones used for disturbing or illegal activities, from smuggling drugs into prisons to spying on the neighbors after domestic property disputes.
The Merseyside police has reported two drones related incidents. The first had witnessed drones hovering over childrens playgrounds, and the other had reports of drones hovering 365 meters over Liverpools city center – far over the 120 meters limit set by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland logged a complaint about a drone being flown over a man’s house by neighbors, and another report about a drone seen hovering over an ATM that seemed to be recording people entering their pin numbers into the cash machine.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP), reported 58 incidents since early 2014. One significant report complained about a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle distracting traffic: “Someone is flying this drone over this junction. Looks like a giant spider and everyone is looking at it and not where they are going.” The London Police has also filed several criminal incidents, which include complaints about drones being used to ferry drugs into prison or a drone being used to “commit sexual offences”.
Not all citizens choose to wait for the police, and some would rather take the law into their own hands. At least one person admitted that he had shot at a drone hovering over his garden with a rifle. It is impossible to completely control the purpose for which these new technologies and vehicles are used. Just like the internet was meant to be a useful, efficient source of information, while some are using it for their own hurtful purposes, it seems that drones are being received much the same way.