From the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, to the parking lot of your local no-tell motel, unmanned drones have become the new peeping eyes in the sky — and they’re being used to chase everything from Muslim terrorists to cheating spouses and insurance scammers.
Private investigators have discovered that drone aircraft can be their latest spy gadget in the pursuit of unfaithful mates, and their use is both growing and causing political alarm.
While the Federal Aviation Administration bans use of drones for commercial purposes, a federal judge recently dismissed a $10,000 fine against a man using one for commercial purposes, sending a signal to private investigators that they likely can get away with spying on the unfaithful or unlawful with relatively low-tech, low-cost, hobbyist-type, camera-equipped drone aircraft, the New York Post
Olwyn Triggs, president of Professional Investigators Network in Glen Cove, New York, recently used a drone to catch an allegedly disabled man with an insurance claim chopping wood in his back yard. Triggs sat safely in a car 1,000 feet away while the drone got all the evidence she needed to nail her quarry.
"You need to think outside the box when someone’s acutely aware," she told the New York Post. "That’s when you’ll consider using a drone."
Other PIs have used drones to catch a cheating husband making out with a girlfriend in Central Park and a married Long Island doctor having sex in his car.
"Drones get us those types of money shots," New York PI Matthew Seifer told the Post. "Clients are amazed. The drones are a game changer."
However, many politicians are upset at the spies in the skies. Queens Councilman Paul Vallone, D-Bayside, plans to offer legislation banning the "rampant proliferation" of drones, after New York cops arrested two men for reckless endangerment when their drone flew too close to an New York Police Department helicopter.
"It’s scary to think that anybody can simply go buy a drone and fly it with wanton disregard for the safety of those around them," Vallone told the Post.
Kentucky Republican state Rep. Diane St. Onge has filed legislation prohibiting the use of drones over Kentucky for purposes other than military training and use by police with a search warrant.
"I am alarmed by media reports that the FAA predicts that between 10,000 and 30,000 drones could be lurking in our skies by 2020," she told USA Today.
Five states have enacted legislation prohibiting the use of drones, and 35 more are considering such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
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