There’s no stopping an electronic peeping Tom

DRONES could be turning into the new electronic peeping Tom with no legislation to stop people using the unmanned flying devices to spy on each other.

The revelation followed an incident at a unit block in Caloundra where a tourist allegedly contacted police about concerns of a "spying drone" seen hovering outside her room.

A source, who asked not to be named, said she contacted police and other unit holders were warned to look out for the covert activity.

"It turned out it was a youngish kid mucking around," the source said.

The incident highlighted the problem of policing the popular gadgets, which can be equipped with high-tech photographic equipment and are readily available at appliance stores.

Drones are governed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said there were a series of "safety regulations covering the operation of drones".

"This includes that they must be more than 30 metres away from other people's property," Mr Gibson said.

But when it came to drones invading a person's privacy when they are changing in upstairs bedroom with their curtain's open, only advice could be given.

"Privacy is not a safety issue therefore it is out of our jurisdiction," Mr Gibson said.

"When you purchase a drone, we do include information to consider privacy laws."

He said there was "no Commonwealth law" in place to protect people from invasion of privacy from a drone.

The Queensland Privacy Commission's spokesman backed this.

"Overall, it is not unlawful in Queensland for one person to film another regardless of whether the subject has agreed to it," the spokesman said. "People have been included in photographs and videos taken by 'strangers' since the advent of the camera.

"At this time, the drone that is buzzing you at home, at the beach, in the park is going to be operated by a hobbyist - a private citizen - who will not be covered under any privacy law.



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