8 Ways to Prevent Drones Infringing on Your Privacy
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A lot of people are hyped about drones these days, especially with the recent developments in drone racing Drone Racing Is Here! 5 Things to Know Before Getting Started Drone Racing Is Here! 5 Things to Know Before Getting Started Drones are taking over every industry and sports are no exception. Here's everything you need to know about this up-and-coming activity and how you can get involved. Read More  and all the different benefits they will provide to daily life 4 Ways Drones Will Actually Benefit Your Day-to-Day Life 4 Ways Drones Will Actually Benefit Your Day-to-Day Life Drones are more than just toys. In fact, in just a few more years, they will actually make your life better and more comfortable. Read More . Heck, we’ve even done our fair share of drone reviews — like the Syma X5C Syma X5C Quadcopter Review and Giveaway Syma X5C Quadcopter Review and Giveaway If you've any interest in drones but have been put off by the steep prices, buy the Syma X5C. It's a hell of a lot of drone, and just as much fun. Read More  and the Parrot Bebop Parrot Bebop Drone and Sky Controller Review and Giveaway Parrot Bebop Drone and Sky Controller Review and Giveaway Soar through the sky and see the unseeable with fantastic aerial photos and smooth videos: this is the Bebop Drone and Sky Controller. Read More  — and think they’re great.

And while it’s true that drones are set to transform the future in amazing ways 5 Amazing Uses For Drones In The Future 5 Amazing Uses For Drones In The Future Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly called drones, are now infamous for their surveillance capabilities, but like most tools, the usefulness of a drone depends on who's in control. Read More , what we can’t forget is that drones pose a serious risk to security and privacy. There are many drone-related security threats 5 Unstoppable Drone Security Threats You Should Be Aware Of 5 Unstoppable Drone Security Threats You Should Be Aware Of Drones introduce a host of new security concerns that governments and legislation have yet to react to. We have compiled five quadcopter drone-related threats that are particularly worrying. Read More  waiting beyond the horizon and we’ve already seen several instances of drones breaching personal privacy 5 Times Drones Have Breached Personal Privacy 5 Times Drones Have Breached Personal Privacy Drones are fun, but the increasing use of devices with mounted cameras poses a privacy risk in many places without drone privacy legislation. Here are 5 occasions where drones have breached the privacy of unsuspecting... Read More .

Fortunately, methods of protection are being developed right now. Not all of these methods can be used right this moment, but it’s still good to know about them so you can take advantage of them as they soon as they become available.

1. Anti-Drone Drones

In 2015, Malou Tech gave their first demonstration of an anti-drone drone: a bigger, badder drone equipped with a huge net meant for capturing and disabling smaller drones. It could be an effective method, but in a lot of cases, something more subtle is needed.


That’s why the Rapere project turned a lot of heads its way. Rather than using a net, it proposed dropping a string that could entangle drone rotors. This meant faster and more precise strikes at target drones. Unfortunately, it seems the project is no more, but you can expect more ideas like this to pop up in the future.

2. Anti-Drone Birds

Drone-intercepting drones may be practical, but if you’re the kind of person who wants to kick it up a few notches on the scale of badassery, then you’ll probably want to look into anti-drone birds — specifically, eagles that have been trained to tackle drones out of the sky.

In fact, some of these birds are even able to snatch drones and carry them all the way back to their trainers. And in case you were worried whether this process is harmful to the birds, rest assured: the birds are intelligent enough to pull it off without so much as clipping a talon.

These birds are only available in the Netherlands and only for police, but it’s conceivable to expect other countries to follow suit in some form or another.

3. Anti-Drone Jammers

If you need a method that’s even more subtle than physical interception, then frequency jamming may be what you need, and the Anti-UAV Defense System (AUDS) is one such solution. It scans the skies for drones and jams their control signals using its own high-powered radio signal.

Or if you need a more portable option, you could look into the DroneDefender: an accurate anti-drone rifle that uses targeted radio signals to disrupt drone controls, much in the same way that the AUDS operates. It currently has a range over 1,300 feet but may be able to reach even farther in future versions.

But there’s one good reason not to use these kinds of devices: radar jammers may be illegal where you live. Don’t even think about buying one of these until you’ve made sure that you won’t be arrested for it.

4. Drone-Blinding Lasers

Anti-drone lasers are kind of like anti-drone jammers, except instead of interfering with a drone’s control signals, they interfere with its camera. Digital cameras use a light sensor to pick up visual information, so if you overload that sensor with too much light, you can blind it.


Have you ever taken a video from inside your house and walked out the door? For a few seconds, everything becomes really bright and white, doesn’t it? That’s basically how a blinding laser works. All you’d need is a low-powered laser pointer and some good aim.

But be careful. It’s not exactly legal to shine lasers into the sky because you might accidentally blind an airplane pilot or something like that. It’s not as illegal as a radio jammer, of course, but you really need to take caution when playing around with lasers like this.

5. Drone Detection Systems

Back in 2013, a group of engineers and computer scientists started a crowdfunding campaign for a device called DroneShield. Powered by a Raspberry Pi core, it was able to detect the presence of drones with a microphone that could pick up frequencies that humans can’t hear.


Once processed, the signal would been compared against a database to separate it from everyday noises and to confirm that it was actually a drone, and if so, the device would shoot a notification your way to let you know that a drone was nearby.

This particular project was benched, but DroneShield does have other enterprise-grade drone detection systems for sale. Nothing currently exists for single homes or other consumer-grade situations, however.

6. Drone Hijacks

One important thing to know about drones is that they’ll never be 100% impervious to hacks, much in the same way that computers and mobile devices will never be completely protected. Keep that in mind if you ever plan on buying a drone of your own 8 Questions to Ask When Buying Your First Drone 8 Questions to Ask When Buying Your First Drone Buying a drone is equal parts exciting and confusing. Here are some common questions most beginners have when purchasing their first drone. Read More .


The thing is, this kind of weakness can always be exploited, which was proved when a security researcher demonstrated the hijacking of a $35,000 police drone from up to one mile away. If a government drone can be disabled like that, it’s reasonable to assume that most consumer-grade drones won’t stand a chance either.

Not to say that you should go around hijacking drones, but in the future we may see disruption devices that utilize these kinds of vulnerabilities to knock drones out the sky and maintain the peace.

(Note: Funnily enough, the U.S. Pentagon is fighting for its own “No Drone Zone” to guard its own privacy against would-be snoopers. How’s that for hypocrisy?!)

7. No Drone Zones

Maybe you’re fine with drones taking to the skies, but you just don’t want them peeking into your windows or ominously hovering over your home. In that case, you should support the growing movement for “no drone zones” that prevent drones from flying through certain airspaces.

A few drone manufacturers have even come together to create NoFlyZone. If you add your address to their database, any drones created by these manufacturers will be unable to fly over your property thanks to built-in GPS-based restrictions.

The downside is that not all drone manufacturers are on board. If the NoFlyZone list became instated as some kind of law, like DoNotCall lists for robocallers How to Stop Annoying Telemarketers & Robocalls From Calling You How to Stop Annoying Telemarketers & Robocalls From Calling You Are you tired of being called by prerecorded messages and robots? Here's why that happens and what you can do to stop them. Read More , it would obviously be a much more effective solution.

8. Drone Surveillance Laws

If all else fails, the last thing you can do is to push for laws that protect the privacy of citizens against drones. Bills have been popping up ever since the drone craze really took off back in 2013, and some of them have even been passed into law, but we still have a long way to go.


And the good news for privacy advocates is that both sides of U.S. Congress agree and want to “prevent high-tech window peeping”. On the other hand, drone fans argue that these privacy fears are based on misinformation, that laws shouldn’t buckle the drone industry before it even has a chance to bloom.

Ideally a middle ground will be found, but until that happens, we’re floating around in a state of limbo where privacy threats are real and we don’t have the proper tools to keep ourselves guarded from them. Laws may end up being the only effective defense.

Are you worried about drones invading your privacy? What steps have you taken, if any, to make sure your right to privacy won’t be violated? Should drones be banned? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: Drone and Sun by concept w via Shutterstock, Drone Radar by sezer66 via Shutterstock, Hovering Drone by funkyfrogstock via Shutterstock, Drone No Fly Zone by Piotr Debowski via Shutterstock

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  1. Michael
    September 25, 2017 at 12:31 am

    fastest way to get the government to pass any laws to protect us from people flying drones in our back yards would be to Fly drones above the yards of politicians. I suspect they would end the practice very quick :)

  2. Ramon Quintana
    July 11, 2017 at 4:32 am

    I had one hover down to about 60 feet above me sitting in my yard in the evening. It rotated the camera. Our bedroom window is right there too. It is an invasion of privacy. I am angry. I called the Sheriff. I recorded it landing at the house Of the user.

    • Stacy Simpson
      December 19, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Similar thing happened to my sister in California. The drone was “peeping” right through her bedroom at night. Her yard is big, so there’s no way it was a mistake. She felt so violated. There has got to be some way to protect ourselves!

  3. darcelle popoff
    June 30, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Drones SHOULD NOT be permitted to look through wallss of students in an apartment complex unless of course there is a serious threat.
    The steps i took in the last 48 hours to speak my mind and begin investigation into this serious problem is
    I visited my local police depart,m sheriffs department. also. THe FBI. THe attoryney general office I shall hit up next week.

    Last but not least the city and superiour courts

  4. Nathan Wellman
    June 8, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Yes please. This is America were entitled to our privacy something needs to be done hete to where if droning is legal so is drone defending for example hacking anti drone drones and what about celebrities what are we supposed to do? As if media and paparazzi isnt enough

  5. Margie Davis
    February 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    The idea of people using drones anywhere or time they want over my property infuriates me! When I bought this home I chose it in some large measure for some privacy. I built a nine foot wall around our pool for that reason. So now I won't have the privacy that I paid for. The use of drones is stealing my money and removing my rights! I would like to blow them out of the sky and let the owners see what it's like to have someone destroy something they have paid for!

  6. Bill
    February 5, 2017 at 1:00 am

    I have a friend every time she steps foot out of her house her wheel chaired Neighbor films her with his drone. 1 am 6 am 11pm? Anytime hes even scaring her dog. What can she do?

  7. Leslie
    December 2, 2016 at 4:07 am

    I have two Ukrainian neighbors that do not approve of my lifestyle, they have harassed me for almost 7 years, cost me over twenty thousand dollars in legal fees from defending myself against false aligations, they lied over and over again, so did their "witnesses", and they lost, were not held accountable, nor their friends, and I didn't get my money back. Now, they have MULTIPLE drones, I have seen them land three, and set off two all at the same time, from their back yard. We live within 3 different zones for a hospital, and airport, and a helipad. There is a highway directly behind our houses, and they have no regard for the law. They have friends next door to them that also fly them. I have seen them invite friends to entertain themselves on the weekends to fly over my house and hover just over my deck, by any window I am around, they follow me to the store, the neighbors house across the street, and they flew right up in our faces at another neighbors house, with their two teenage daughters. I am woke up each and every night by my dogs that hear them. I come home from work to find my dogs scared and nervous, and with my camera that I can log into from anywhere, I see them flying in my yard during the day. I have seen more than 25 over my house and around it, while airplanes and helicopters are coming through. I saw 6 airplanes within an hour time span fly right by the one that's behind my house over the highway every night. So I reported it to the San Diego Sheriff, they came and looked right at one flying over our heads, 20 ft or less, one said "look, she thinks that airplane is a drone", and the next day I found a pamphlet on my front door about how they work with the mentally ill. Now, there are even more of them, and luckily, other neighbors see them as well, but here I sit, on my deck, -and there is one at least over my deck. The police won't do anything because they won't admit it, so where do you go now? I will not call the police ever again. I wake at 3 am to go to work, and they are there, after work, and all night long. This is illegal on many levels , and extremely dangerous, not to mention I'm a woman that lives alone. Only thing I can see to do, that hasn't been deemed illegal yet, is hack them, but I am not hacker. Makes me sick, injust, and they keep getting away with all that they do. There's my story, more than 8 months of this that I know of.

    • Earl stoner
      May 14, 2017 at 1:39 am

      I understand you fully.i feel your pain.i wish I could help you.it isn't fair.someone could of made something up about you.and you really didn't do..hackers can do anything to your life.i hope things get better for you.and have a happy moth ers day.eds

    • Ray
      October 2, 2017 at 12:07 am

      I feel every bit of your frustration, my neighbors are Muslim and for some reason hate me. These drones follow me everywhere I go day after day, I often wonder if they are just obsessed with me, I fantasize daily of killing. They have changed me to a very paranoid person and quite frankly everyone including the police which I have spoken with numerous times think I’m probably crazy. It’s hard to date or do anything that most people do in private. So just know your not alone, I feel a little less crazy just knowing someone is going through the same thing. I hope things get better, I’ve lost hope after a year, sadly I guess this is just what I have to deal with. Good luck to you

  8. Shan
    October 29, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    I have 2 drones that hover over my house every night for the past 8 months and don't know what to do about them or who they belong to?

    • S Hale
      September 25, 2017 at 4:24 am

      I know exactly how you feel..I have one that can see and hear everything you say or do in your house..I take a shower..it vibrates the floor of the tub..lay in bed the same thing..vibrating me in certain places, if you know what I mean..this has been going on for over a year now..and don't get me started on the spy cams..all over my vehicles..outside the house..and no one wants to believe you..they say I'm paranoid..I'm not paranoid..I'm sick of them..no personal privacy at all..so I know how ya feel..what does our 4th admendment mean anyway...to the drone nerds...NOTHING at all...so what do we do?

      • r.phillips
        November 7, 2017 at 11:57 am

        I am going through the same thing and it's been going on for about a year now. At first it wasn't such a nightmare, it was military drone operators doing training operations in missle defence over my neighborhood in a small town down south.I watched them every night for a couple of weeks through binoculars out of curiosity and apparently they noticed me and started showing me some amazing technology that I never knew existed like 3d imaging from drone to ground and nanotechnology -smart dust- that could manipulate things from trees and bushes to clouds. It was like watching sci-fi but it was real and in my yard. I wondered why I was being treated to such amazing shows that was fit for an audience and most likely classified, then I found out. They started wanting something from me that I wasn't willing to do and wanted them to leave but they wouldn't, so I did point my laser at them just to try to make them leave. After a few days I started experiencing burns on my skin and seeing crazy images through my house, I thought I was losing my mind. I did some research and found that there was countless people who were going through the exact same thing that I was. It's called electronic harassment and the burns on my skin is coming from radiation from what is called a microwave weapon and believe me I know how insane it sounds but it is true. Apparently they started doing this to me because when I shined my laser at them, it done permanent damage to his eye through an eye piece he was wearing while controlling the drone. I have been tortured every day and night since then. There are plenty of witnesses to the military drone training plus I has a lot of videos and pictures but when I made a report to my local police, they didn't believe me then turned around and the next day went and told my boss about my report which resulted in me losing my job. On top of losing my job and having these military men watching and hearing me 24/7, I have lost all credibility with many of my family and friends. They are coming at me so hard now that I don't think I'll make it much longer and don't know what to do. They let me know daily that they won't be done until I am in the ground.

        • Katie
          January 7, 2018 at 8:26 pm

          It's called being a Targeted Individual and they may have also used gang stalkers that they employ big money to in order to do things like harass you with directed energy weapons and start smear campaigns against you. I've been experiencing this for about 2 yrs now and have drones constantly over my private property. Just curious what state do you live in? I live in CA bay area and would love to share ideas on how we can stop this nightmare.

  9. Jake Gardner
    September 25, 2016 at 1:44 am

    Wat actions do I need to take cause I have several that comes out at night

  10. John
    August 12, 2016 at 12:09 pm


    I disagree. Drones have been 'sneaking' up to my house, and a neighbours house, using flash photography to photograph my children and my home at the windows - this would only make sense if:

    - the drone owner wants to gather knowledge about my children
    - work our the layout of your house (it is not a conventional house)
    - to intimidate me

    Hobbyists may have been using RC craft for years and if used responsibly, will never cause an issue, but I should still be able to protect my family and home, never mind the feeling of invasion that comes with this. The law will take years in this country to protect the likes of me, how can the police find the owner of the drone long after the drone has left? I should be able to do something myself, but obviously want to stay within the law.

  11. Brian
    March 21, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    An out of control drone is dangerous. Half these methods you are more likely to cause more harm than good. How about a list of legal anti-drone methods.

  12. Helen Coughenour
    March 21, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    the last 2 that was over my house was shot down stupid little kids flying something into your house.

  13. Jim
    March 21, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Normally informative, but this is simply making things worse. Conspiracy theory much? Seriously, drones are not going to sneak into your house and video you. How is seeing you with a remote camera in a PUBLIC place a privacy invasion?

    Let's talk about the legality of all of your anti-drone tech. Every bit of it is illegal to use for one reason or another. The jammers and hijack methods for example are specifically against the law. The low-tech foul the props techniques still allow you to damage private property, and in case you didn't know you do not own the airspace over your property.

    How about we simply punish the few people doing stupid things with "drones" and stop pumping up the hysteria. Hobbyists have been flying RC craft for decades without issue. Now they are cheap enough for the uneducated and common sense lacking public who are going to screw it up for everyone and your article doesn't help.

    • Kristin
      October 13, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      These drones are invading privacy a lot. If one is flying over my house it will be taken down. The only reason these are being flown over peoples houses is to spy on people . The White House considers them a security risk and so do private homeowners. Anybody that flies them over peoples houses the film is a sick turd and should be jailed .

    • Steve
      November 24, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      If I erect a privacy fence on my property, I am certainly NOT going to tolerate someone deliberately hovering a drone over my property.
      My right to privacy on my property is not superceded by your desire to play with an expensive toy.

    • Leslie
      December 2, 2016 at 4:14 am

      Why don't you come to my house, I invite you to see what these idiots next door do, day light, night time, in three restricted air zones. They fly right over people walking, they hover while airplanes fly right by them. I'm sorry, but you're (lucky enough to not experience this) wrong. There is nothing 'legal' to do about it. You clearly don't have weirdos stalking you with them, I do, and it's EVERY day, ALL day, and ALL night. Just saying

    • John
      March 1, 2017 at 4:18 am

      Property rights are just that...rights. As in the right to peaceful enjoyment of your property. Is there a right to fly a drone?

    • Rose
      March 17, 2017 at 10:09 am

      How do YOU know what each individual is using their drone for ? How does flying a drone in a neighbours backyard two doors down at 9.30 at night, or hovering out side my balcony door at 8pm not become a privacy issue. Sure have your fun, but how about some protection for those of us who are not involved in the operation of it and don't need to see the things hovering outside your door or window at all hours.

    • Blind Steve
      July 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Here's the problem Jim, RC planes and coptors can only be flown in a private "airstrip". The reason is because of possible damage to property or personal injury. It is illegal to use the neighborhood streets as a takeoff and landing strip. The reasons are very obvious. The private owners of drones should be held to the same legal standards. I am sure that getting hit by one of the blades cannot feel all that great, hence the reason for only allowing them to fly in reserved areas, only for private owners. I am a blind person that is consistently being buzzed by the little punks down the block. Is that fair? Is it fair that my dog is agitated by them? Until they actually hit me, I have no legal grounds to nail these little punks to the wall!

      • Jim
        July 23, 2017 at 9:26 pm

        People smoke around me and that has proven, significant health risks. Do I have to die before someone does something? The humanity!

        Seriously, kids play baseball and break windows. People drive down the street with loud music. People let their dogs pee in my yard. I can name a hundred things I don't like that other people do that impact me in some way. That doesn't make any of it worthy of taking away freedom or making playing with a toy a criminal offense.

        How about trying to let others enjoy something they like and be happy that someone besides you is having fun? Yes, people can be jerks with their toys. So can others with their keyboards...

        • Blind Steve
          July 23, 2017 at 10:59 pm

          Jim, thanks for the reply. I am a conscientious smoker in the fact that my morals refuse to force my bad habit on others. Humanity is somewhat still around.

          My one question to you about the examples of the window, music, dogs, is very simply, does any of this violate your privacy? The examples are the very annoying and peace disrupting kind. I was trying to focus on the “peeping tom” issue. On that note, people could put up a major gripe about google earth and other satellites. The satellites are not really capable of hovering around your house nor can the commercial satellites peer in your windows to watch you.

          I really have no problem with the enjoyment factor. I do have a problem when that enjoyment is at someone else’s expense. I do have a problem with the legal stance of remote control planes and helicopters have no fly zones accept the licensed RC spaces. What is wrong with holding the drones to the same standard?
          Keyboards can be very brutal or very sensitive. Like the drone issue, it’s not the drones fault, it’s the user.
          BTW, the registration issue is long from over.

      • Jim
        July 23, 2017 at 11:28 pm

        Blind Steve, for some reason I can't reply to your last comment so I will reply here. In my original statement I closed with this:

        "How about we simply punish the few people doing stupid things with "drones" and stop pumping up the hysteria. Hobbyists have been flying RC craft for decades without issue. Now they are cheap enough for the uneducated and common sense lacking public who are going to screw it up for everyone and your article doesn't help."

        Your privacy issue has nothing to do with drones. If a person is a peeping tom they are violating the law already and it doesn't take a "drone". They can do it with binoculars. Should we outlaw them? They can do it with a telescope. Maybe those need to go as well. If a guy is outside your window looking in, that is illegal. Doesn't matter what tool he uses, still illegal and THAT is my point when I say "How about we simply punish the few people doing stupid things with drones"?

        Let me equate this to another hot button issue: firearms. We want to take them all away because criminals use them. Seriously? We always want to punish the entire planet because someone does something we don't like. We all need to get over ourselves just a little bit and work a little more at getting along. Punish those that break the law and stop taking things away from those people responsible enough to use them properly.

      • Jim
        July 23, 2017 at 11:31 pm

        One more thing: your comment " RC planes and coptors can only be flown in a private "airstrip"" is completely false. I can go buy a microquad at Toys R Us and fly it in my yard with zero issues and not break the law. You can't group every RC craft in the same bucket. Predator drone needs a runway. TinyWhoop (www.tinywhoop.com) not so much and zero harm done flying it in my neighborhood.

        • Blind Steve
          July 24, 2017 at 12:55 am

          Your last two comments make perfect sense! I understand that stupid is just stupid. Like the gun issue, just look at Australia when all the registered gun owners had to turn in their guns, the criminals did not and crime went up 300% the first year.
          As far as the little flyers go, I see your point. My point is the model planes that have over a 3 ft. wing span. I'm guessing that these little planes are very lite and can most likely be caught in a persons hand?
          Thank you for making your point clearer to me. I am in total agreement.
          On this site, I do like the drone identification for the police to read. This would come in very handy to catch those stupid people.
          Kind of like the thumb print reader for pistols... very good idea.