• September 03, 2019
  • By tecniqode

Paparazzi using drones – so called ‘Dronerazzi’ is fast becoming a nuisance in the VIP world, with reporters using drone technology for advanced monitoring and surveillance, learning celebrity whereabouts, and capturing invasive footage and snaps that would have otherwise been impossible.

Capabilities of Drones

Whilst the intrusiveness of the paparazzi is nothing new, the advancing capabilities of drones is allowing them to retrieve far more, and higher quality information than ever before. Paparazzi are increasingly aware of the potential benefits of drone technology for their line of work. There are already numerous instances of paparazzi drone use.

Reported Drone Incidents

Reported incidents of drones spying on celebrities include: Kanye West reported a drone was used to watch North West, Kim Kardashian’s and Kanye’s daughter, in the couple’s backyard pool, Miley Cyrus videoed a paparazzi drone as it flew over her Hollywood home and actress Jennifer Garner complained about drones flying above her back garden too. Swiss tabloid photographer Toto Marti buzzed over Tina Turner’s wedding in Switzerland on Lake Zurich. The aerial photos made the front covers of magazines across Europe.

What Are The Drone Laws?

In 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into a law bill that was aimed at preventing paparazzi from using drones to commit espionage, clearly stating that the acquisition of visual or audio material of a private residence “through the use of any device, regardless of whether there is a physical trespass” constitutes an invasion of privacy.

How Effective Are Drone Laws?

However, the effectiveness of this bill has been widely questioned, sparking huge debates over what is allowed and what isn’t.
In US law the paparazzi are allowed to photograph a celebrity as long as they are in a public space and as long as the paparazzo does not engage in harassment, obstruction, and do not record “a personal or familial activity.” According to Patrick J. Alach ( Paparazzi and Privacy), press photographers are protected in the U.S. by the First Amendment; celebrities who challenge paparazzi in court often come up against constitutional protections for freedom of the press. In public spaces, a celebrity can have no expectation of privacy.

A. Michael Froomkin and Zak Colangelo also points out (Self-Defense Against Robots), a celebrity may not be able to invoke trespassing laws if a drone flies over their private property, so long as the drone is flying over a certain altitude.

In addition to this, The National Press Photographers Association opposed the bill for lacking specificity, stating that these laws are written so overly broad and vague that they impede and infringe upon news gathering.

With the lack of specificity, and the above incidents, it is also questioned whether the bill will be enforced at all, after all how do you police the skies?

Whilst it is clear there is a specific need for tighter laws thought the US and world-wide, instances of paparazzi drone use, and the attendant controversies, bills and debates, are set to become increasingly common.

Just remember the next buzz of a drone you hear above you could be international news

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