Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed a new law aimed at combating “Peeping Tom” drone use across the state.

The act increases criminal penalties for using unmanned aircraft, typically called drones, to spy on or conduct surveillance of someone in a private place.

Officials said the law is meant to protect people’s privacy; however, it provides exceptions for law enforcement officials, government employees, first responders, and utility company employees who use unmanned aircraft in their official duties.

“With the rise in popularity of drones with video cameras, this is a commonsense step to prevent the use of drones to invade someone’s privacy. Drones should not be a tool to spy on someone in their yard or through their window,” Wolf said.

The legislation makes using an unmanned aircraft to intentionally or knowingly conduct surveillance of another person in a private place or to place another person in reasonable fear of bodily injury a summary offense.

Using an unmanned aircraft to deliver, provide, transmit or furnish contraband to a person in a prison or in a mental hospital is a felony of the second degree. (Not that you’d ever do that …)

Pennsylvania joins several states, including California, Florida, and Mississippi, that have enacted laws to prevent drone usage from violating residents’ privacy.

It’s worth noting that the new Pennsylvania drone law is in addition to already-existing federal regulations from the FAA.

Here are three tips to make sure you’re in compliance when using a drone:

  1. Make sure the operator is FAA licensed to operate a drone.
  2. Make sure the operator is properly insured. (General liability insurance does not cover drones.)
  3. Don’t do anything dumb, like spy on people.

Allied Pixel uses FAA licensed drone operators and is fully insured for drone operation. And for the most part, we try not to do anything dumb.

There are some nice drone shots here:

Happy flying.

Bill Haley

P.S. Have a video topic you’d like to see discussed? Let me know and I’ll try to get to it in a future post.

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