WW's Holiday Gift Guide recommends the Phantom 4 drone for aerial photography. I'd love to fly one over downtown, maybe peek in a few high-rise windows. Are there any laws governing where drones can be flown and what they can photograph? —Top Gun
The problem with drones is that when you ask 100 guys what they'd do if they had one, one says, "Revolutionize search and rescue," two say, "Take stunning aerial photographs of nature," and 97 say, "Fly around and try to see a titty."
It's weird. The drone referenced above (which looks pretty much exactly like the one Cartman used to see Craig's mom's bush on South Park) lists for $1,199.99. That kind of money could buy you 60 solid hours on the rail at a strip club, 30 full-contact lap dances, or five actual prostitutes. Is peeking up the skirt of some poor woman as she bends over to clean up some cat puke in her fourth-floor apartment really worth it?
Not that it matters: Such peeking is totally against the law now. Oregon House Bill 4066, effective as of last March, put the kibosh on a wide variety of totally juvenile things you can do with a drone.
For starters, no rigging up your unmanned aircraft with some kind of gun and calling in drone strikes on people who piss you off—weaponizing your drone is now a Class A misdemeanor even if you don't hit anybody. (Nice try, Donald Trump.)
Also, you're not permitted to use your drone to annoy real planes that actually have some business being in the air and aren't some stupid toy being controlled by a fat guy drinking beer in a lawn chair.
Finally, of course, no photographing or video recording of other people's naughty bits. The law actually goes into surprisingly minute detail in defining "recording," "nudity" and "intimate area." Then again, I suppose nobody wants to leave a loophole that might later became enshrined in case law as "the Underboob Defense."
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