|Photo of drone taken at the Save the St. Lucie River and Martin County Wildlife protest in Phipps Park in Stuart, FL on August 3, 2013 ©Nicole Paquette|
I was at the Save the St. Lucie River and Martin County Wildlife protest in Phipps Park in Stuart, FL on August 3, 2013 when this little drone popped in on us. It appeared to zip in over the parking lot over to where the people we gathering to protest peacefully I might add!Now this event occurred on August 3rd. Just days earlier on April 28th, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a law restricting the use of drones by law enforcement except in extreme cases involving "imminent danger to life or serious damage to property" and when "credible intelligence" from the federal Department of Homeland Security points to "a high risk of a terrorist attack."
My husband and I had just walked in and starting talking to the gal who was taking signatures for the petition to stop Lake Okeechobee discharges into the Indian River. The drone flew straight from the parking lot over to the edge of the gathering/protest where my husband, the petition gal and I were standing and talking. We hear a flapping/fluttering above and the three of us look up and there is a drone that just flew up to us right above us about two stories. We all looked at each other puzzled that there was possibly a drone flying above us. We actually all said...."Is that a drone above us?"
I handed the things I had in my hands over to my husband and started taking pictures. It continued to hover over me while I took pictures for a minute or two. Then the drone did a 180 degree turn and flew back over the parking lot and appeared to fly out of the protest. A gal that I knew that was there in a another location at the protest said it did the same thing to her that day and that others saw the drone as well during the protest.
To say the very least this was most unsettling to me. My privacy felt completely violated. I can't imagine a day where I would be followed by drones in public. It just feels icky.
It's almost like "it" saw me taking pictures of it and then took off! CREEPY!!! I didn't think that having a drone hovering over me was an actual reality...other than hearing about it in the news...
I know we are video taped pretty much every time we leave our homes but this is just a whole new level of spin on it. It's not only a floating camera...lol...it's not good in any way on US soil to violate it's citizens privacy....news stations, police, government, military using them...not okay! If a news station wants to take pictures of me, then they need to ask me first. ALWAYS!!! There wont be a day in my life where I think these drones are okay no matter the use. I deserve privacy...its MY fundamental right!
Another thing to think of is yes, people could be using it for filming and pictures for media purposes but when does it cross the line and what else are these images/videos being used for if needed? If we all become desensitized to these "media" drones, they could eventually be everywhere collecting information on everyone all of the time. A bit of line crossing when it comes to my privacy in my mind. I'm not ever doing anything wrong, but I HATE that there are video cameras on every corner. I am going to hate if there are drones flying around in the very near future taking video and pictures of me in public. I am sorry but I do feel very violated. Call me extreme but I think that this is a bit extreme. Just use human beings to take pictures and videos. Do all of you media people want to be out of jobs because drones are replacing humans?...again extreme but very real for the future.
We need to make noise about this before "they" start passing laws that allow these drones in our lives everyday. Supposedly "they" are testing drones in specific areas now that aren't announced to see how best these drones can be used. How do we stop this before it gets completely out of hand?
Attached is an image of the drone (as seen at the top of the page - Resister) and the protest.
So either this was a privately owned drone, a news agency's drone, or some LE agency didn't get the memo.
Maybe Florida needs to offer Drone Hunting Permits too?