GATES COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — The Gates County Sheriff’s Office say someone has been using drones to spy on residents through their windows.
According to officials from the sheriff’s office, they have been receiving calls and complaints the last couple of days regarding drones “flying low and looking into windows of houses.”
The sheriff’s office has issued a warning that such actions are covered under the North Carolina General Statute 15a-300.1:
(1) No person, entity, or state agency shall conduct surveillance of:
a. A person or dwelling occupied by a person and that dwelling’s curtilage without the person’s consent.
b. Private real property without the consent of the owner, easement holder, or lessee of the property.
(2) Photograph the individual, without the individual’s consent, for the purpose of publishing or otherwise publicly disseminating the photograph. This subdivision shall not apply to newsgathering, newsworthy events, or events or places to which the general public is invited.
The sheriff’s office also reminded that anyone who subjected to unwarranted surveillance, or whose photograph is taken in violation of the provisions of this section, has the right to file a civil cause of action against the person, entity, or state agency that conducts the surveillance or uses an unmanned aircraft system to photograph for the purpose of publishing or otherwise disseminating the photograph.
In lieu of actual damages, the person whose photograph is taken may eligible to get up to $5,000 for each photograph or video that is published or otherwise disseminated, as well as reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees and injunctive or other relief as determined by the court.