Drone causes privacy concerns for people living in a Tampa neighborhood

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 16:19:50-05

A week after ABC Action News reported on a community worried about their privacy as a drone flew around in the neighborhood, we’re hearing of yet another community with the same problem.

“He will hover above you as you’re standing in your driveway or your backyard,” said Lindsey McDaniel who says she is worried about her privacy in her own home in Tampa’s Camden Woods Community.

RELATED: Tampa family concerned after strange drone hovers above their home

Several neighbors have the same complaint. One even giving us cell phone video showing a drone flying over their pool while they were out sunbathing.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has clear guidelines about flying drones above private property without permission. That’s exactly what McDaniel says she is worried about.

"Who's to say that the video he is posting is actually the full information and that he is not taking other pictures or videos for his own personal use? Which is creepy to even think about," said McDonald.

We talked to the person who neighbors are accusing of flying the drone over their properties and he told us in a statement via Facebook messenger that the complaints are ridiculous. He says he was flying his drone to take pictures for neighbors who wanted surveys of roof damage after the hurricane.

Check the U.S. Airspace Map

No Drone Zone
B4UFLY Mobile App

There is one clear issue though, air space. One quick check of the FAA’s “B4UFLY” app, which is available for the public, shows the entire neighborhood is in restricted airspace. The neighborhood is within five miles of an airport.

This is a good reminder to all drone pilots out there. If you’re in restricted airspace, you have to request a waiver from the FAA to fly. It’s also against FAA regulations to:

  • Fly a drone beyond the line of sight.
  • Fly it directly over people unless you have an FAA waiver.
  • Fly at night without permission from the FAA.
  • Fly over 400 feet.

McDaniel and her family say they have reported the drone use to the FAA and are waiting to hear back.

Important note here, law enforcement has to witness the violation in order to confiscate the drone. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is reminding people in their jurisdiction that you can always send them non-emergency tips through their phone app (available for IPhone and Android). Just search “HSCO Sheriff” in Google Play or the app store.