Most drones are used for good and legitimate purposes. But despite this, there are still some people who may be concerned that drones may be gathering too much information, thus infringing on their right to privacy. There has been a huge uproar in recent times, with reports of drones following people around as if carrying out surveillance operations. So why would a drone be following you?
If you have firm evidence to suspect that a drone is following you, you are probably being spied on. A drone will only follow you around if someone is instructing it to do so in order to collect information about you.
In this article, we will discuss all that relates to a drone following you and much more. If this piques your interest, read on to find out more about why a drone might be following you!
Can drones be used for surveillance?
It may seem obvious enough that drones can be used for surveillance – which is absolutely true – but the real question is to what extent? You’d be surprised at how much surveillance material a drone can collect. If equipped with the right technology, they can carry out surveillance to a startling extent.
Some examples of technology that is commonly used on drones include video cameras, GPS tracking, and object tracking functions including facial recognition. Some higher-end technology that makes for better surveillance capabilities include thermal sensors, radar, license plate readers, and even cellphone interception.
For the most part, you won’t find consumer-level drones that have all these surveillance capabilities, but even to a lesser extent, the less sophisticated drones can still be used to carry out minimal surveillance. This is, however, illegal since no citizen is allowed to infringe on the privacy of others.
Surveillance drones are extensively used by military and intelligence agencies, but they can also be used at more local levels, including by state and city public safety agencies. They are extensively used at the federal level by organizations such as the FBI, ICE, U.S. Marshals, and the Coast Guard.
Public safety agencies routinely use drones for surveillance missions, investigating crime scenes, search and rescue operations, finding stolen goods, and disaster relief management.
So, to answer the question, yes! Drones can be used for surveillance if they are equipped with the appropriate technology. It should, however, be noted that using drones to spy on fellow citizens is a felony.
Can drones hear conversations?
It’s quite understandable that the thought of a drone being able to hear your conversations would freak you out quite a bit. After a 2013 congressional report on the state of drone technology, it was confirmed that drones have the capability of listening in on your conversations provided they are fitted with the appropriate technology to do so. This is quite creepy, right? For a drone to do this, it would have to be capable of recording audio.
At the moment, most drones don’t record audio and only record video because they don’t come with audio recording devices built-in. This is usually the case for most consumer-level drones. But the truth is that more sophisticated drones can record audio. This is especially the case for drones that are used for surveillance.
Quad-copters are incapable of recording audio because their propellers are usually quite loud. So, there’s no point recording audio if it can’t be heard over the sound of propellers. That’s why drone manufacturers like DJI don’t add a mic to their drones.
So to answer the question definitively, drones can hear conversations if they are equipped to do so. Most drones, however, are incapable of hearing and recording conversations because they don’t come with audio recording devices.
How do you tell if a drone is watching you?
As we have already discussed, drones can be used to spy on you, but just because you see a drone near your house doesn’t automatically mean it’s spying on you. It could easily be a case of incorrectly interpreting what’s actually going on.
If in fact, a drone is spying on you, most of the time you will be able to spot it without any special equipment other than your eyes and ears. A drone that is close enough to gather visual information on you will be easy to spot, and certainly easy to hear.
There are some types of drones that are smaller and more discrete, so spotting these with your eyes may be a bit harder. If you suspect that there’s a drone spying on you but you can’t see it or hear it, you can use other types of technology to help you detect a nearby drone.
Here are some methods to find out if there’s a drone nearby spying on you.
If you think you are being spied on, the best way of confirming this is by using radio counter-surveillance systems to track down the drone. A radio counter-surveillance system decodes radio waves generated by the drone and makes a pattern to show where the signals are coming from.
There are some apps available that can help you tell whether a drone is watching you. For example, you can use the DroneWatcher app to detect nearby drones on your smartphone or tablet.
3. Radar Detectors
An anti-drone radar detector is another technology that you can use to detect nearby drones. These types of radar are specifically designed to identify radiofrequency or wifi signals that would indicate the presence of a drone in the vicinity. You can get yourself an anti-drone radar detector device on Amazon for around $20-$40.
What to do if a drone is following you?
If you notice a drone following you around, your first instinct (depending on who you are) might be to shoot it down. While this may seem like a surefire solution, you need to avoid doing so at all costs. Shooting down a drone could lead to serious legal woes. Unmanned aircraft of any size are protected by federal law. The FAA is clear that shooting down or disabling a drone is illegal. So shooting down a drone that is following you would be an inappropriate response.
If you feel a drone is spying on you, you should call the police or report it to the FAA. The appropriate authority to deal with cases of a spying drone is the local police force that deals with complaints of stalking or peeping toms. You may call in the FAA if the drone is being operated illegally or in an unsafe way. What’s important is that you get sufficient evidence of the occurrence. Document your complaint carefully. Record the exact time and date and get as much information as possible about the drone’s make and model; take pictures if you can.
Almost every drone you see in the air is just going about its job and is probably not following you. However, if you do spot a drone following you around endlessly, then you should know that the operator – not the drone – is at fault! You should gather as much evidence as possible if you see a drone following you around and report to the authorities.