A Hawaii woman was shocked to find a drone hovering outside her bedroom window in the early hours of the morning on Monday. While the drone may have invaded her privacy, police said no crime had been committed.
“There were these green and red LED’s that were coming from the whirring thing, and I quickly realized it was a drone outside the bedroom,” the woman, who did not reveal her name, told local station Hawaii News Now.
She said the drone hovered above the privacy curtain of her second floor bedroom window at her home in Hawaii Kai, Oahu, for a few seconds. When she walked toward it, it flew off.
She called Honolulu Police to file a report but was told no law had been broken.
“She was very empathetic and pretty mortified, also,” the woman said about the police officer she spoke to. “I could tell she really cared, but I could also tell that she felt the same helplessness that I felt.”
Federal laws for drones only restrict height and flying zones, but no laws address privacy concerns. There are Fourth Amendment issues if a drone videotapes someone in a bathroom or changing, but there are no laws regarding drones hovering outside a home.
“You’re watching somebody sleep. That’s pretty incredible what an invasion of privacy that is,” says the woman, who is concerned about the operator’s motives, the station reported. “Were they looking at us, or looking at the house to maybe burglarize it later?”
Shane Lawler, owner of Drones Plus Hawaii, told Hawaii News Now that the devices are normally used by hobbyists in open spaces. They could also be useful for law enforcement and firefighters battling hard-to-reach flames.
“We don’t recommend anybody use it for that kind of mischief,” Mr. Lawler said, Hawaii News Now reported.
Hawaii lawmakers have tried to introduce legislation addressing drone use and privacy concerns, but so far none of them have passed.