Ohio Bill Seeks to Tackle Drone Trespassing and Voyeurism

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New Legislation Aims to Close Privacy Loopholes with Drones

In a move to bolster privacy protections, Ohio legislators are considering a new bill that would make it illegal to use drones for trespassing and voyeurism on private property. The proposed law, which had its first hearing recently, seeks to expand existing trespassing regulations to include drone activity, addressing concerns over the use of drones to invade personal privacy, reports 10WBNS.

Expanding Trespassing Laws to Include Drones

Current Legal Gaps

Ohio currently lacks specific legislation regarding drone use over private property. This bill, co-sponsored by Republican Representative Brian Lampton of Beavercreek, aims to fill this Legal void. Lampton emphasizes that, under current laws, individuals can legally operate drones over private spaces, potentially capturing video or photographs without the property owner’s consent.

New Restrictions and Authority

The proposed bill would give law enforcement the power to act against drone operators who fly their devices onto private property without permission. It would explicitly prohibit activities such as spying, eavesdropping, recording, photographing, or live streaming individuals in areas where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

“You don’t want some stranger walking around in your backyard,” Lampton stated, highlighting the invasive potential of drones when compared to traditional trespassing.

Legislative Considerations and Questions

Early Stages of the Bill

The bill is still in its preliminary phases, and lawmakers anticipate further modifications. During the initial hearing, legislators discussed two primary concerns not addressed in the current draft: the appropriate height restriction for drone flights over private property and whether law enforcement should be exempt from these regulations.

Privacy and Existing Laws

Peeping Tom and Privacy Laws

It’s important to note that existing peeping Tom and privacy laws already criminalize invasive behaviors. The introduction of this bill does not fundamentally change these protections but extends them to cover modern technology such as drones. The core principle remains the same: individuals have a right to privacy in their own homes and properties.

Ohio’s proposed legislation on drone use aims to modernize and strengthen privacy protections by addressing the unique challenges posed by Drone Technology. As the bill progresses through legislative scrutiny, adjustments will likely be made to ensure it effectively balances privacy rights with the practicalities of drone use. Ultimately, this initiative reflects a broader trend of adapting traditional laws to keep pace with technological advancements, safeguarding personal privacy in an increasingly connected world.

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