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Drone Spying on You? (Find Out What to do And How to Avoid It)

Updated in 2022 by Paul Posea
Are drones spying on you?

When you come out of the house and see a drone hovering at the same place for a little while, your mind can only think of one question, “Is that drone spying on me?” So, that begs the question, can drones be used to spy on you?

Yes, drones can be used for spying. One way is by attaching a camera to the drone and using it to take pictures or videos of people without their knowledge or consent. Another way is by using the drone to listen in on conversations and using facial recognition software, to track people’s movements. 

We all love our privacy and hate the thought of a peeping Tom stalking us, whether through the window or with a drone recording. Where do you even begin when a drone is lingering around your compound longer than your liking?

Drone laws prevent us from smashing the UAVs and other tempting ways to deal with the issue. However, this article will cover better ways to handle the matter of a drone spying on you.   

Can someone spy on you with a drone?

Consumer drones have technology such as GPS tracking, video cameras, and object tracking modes, such as facial recognition. With all those features, are drones used for spying? In the wrong hands they can, however, note that putting surveillance on another person is illegal.

So, Yes, someone can spy on you with a drone, but there are also legal restrictions that would make it more difficult to do so. If a drone is specifically designed for surveillance, then it is more likely that it could be used to spy on someone.

Drones on the higher end, especially non-consumer level drones, are equipped with license plate readers, thermal sensors, cellphone interception, and radar. UAVs with these capabilities are mostly used by intelligence agencies and the military. Various federal-level agencies can also use them. 

These drones aid in rescue operations, disaster relief management, crime scene investigation, and other public safety operations by various state agencies. Even though such a UAV is not a consumer drone, it only shows how a drone can be equipped for spying. 

With the right equipment installed on one, it can be misused by stalkers. Nevertheless, using any type of drone for spying is a felony.

How can you catch a drone spying on you?

Usually, most drone flyers are just about their business, and a drone flying in your vicinity might be unintentional. However, if you feel like someone is spying on you, then it is ok to trust your instincts. 

You can catch a drone spying on you by being aware of your surroundings and taking note of any suspicious activity. If you see a drone flying in your area, try to identify who is operating it and what their purpose is. You can also install security cameras or devices that detect drones in your area.

In most cases, it is easy to spot or hear a drone hovering nearby. If such a drone is used to gather your information, it will probably be around long enough for you to notice it. However, other special drones are smaller and quiet, hence more discrete. These might be harder to attract your attention. 

Luckily, with the help of some technology, it is also possible to detect them. Below are some ways to find out whether a drone is nearby, spying on you  

Using special apps

You can download available apps that detect nearby drones with your smartphone or tablet. The DroneWatcher app is ideal for detecting and tracking a drone within 1/4 to 1/2 mile from you. It will record the type of drone and its ID, which will come in handy when reporting. 

The only limitation is that the app only detects consumer-level drones that use Wi-Fi and can't spot military or drones that do not use non-encrypted radiofrequency. However, it is a free app that might help when you think someone is using their drone to infringe on your privacy.

Anti-drone radar detectors

Anti-drone radar detectors can help detect a nearby drone by identifying their wifi signal or radiofrequency. It emits radio frequency signals in all directions that bounce off an object upon detecting it. 

When someone uses their drone to spy on your homestead, the radar detectors will notify you. Leave alone the large ones used in airports; you can buy a cheap anti-drone detector even from amazon.

Install PTZ cameras

PTZ cameras can easily detect a drone hovering over your homestead as they have great zoom capabilities and can tilt and pan. The camera also has superb night vision, which will help when someone is spying on you at night. Their ability to capture high-definition footage at great distances can help identify the drone after recording the spying incident.

Radio

Radio counter-surveillance systems can be useful when being spied on by a drone. It will track the drone by decoding the radio waves it generates to make a pattern and show the signal source.

How can you detect a drone spying at night?

It can sometimes be a challenge to detect a drone spying at night, but there are a few things you can do to try. These options include using a night vision camera, listening for the sound of the drone, and using a drone detection device.

You can detect a drone spying at night by looking out for drone signs like taillights, red blinkers, or green running lights. You can also use a drone detector, which is a device that uses radio waves to detect drones in your area.

Look for the taillights.

Drones are equipped with lights that are always on. The taillights are mostly flashes of green, white, and red. The camera will probably also be on to record at night. 

Tracking the radio frequency

An anti-drone radio frequency detector will work even at night to alert you of an oncoming drone. Unless the UAV is equipped with a radio frequency jammer, it is possible even to follow around back to where it came from. Though, you should proceed with care.

Infrared Light Motion Detector

A drone will most likely use infrared at night to send feedback to the user. This is to enable them to see where the human eye cannot. The infrared detector will help detect the drone's presence even when you can't see it physically.    

How can you stop a drone from spying on you

When they think a drone is spying on them, the immediate thought for most people would be to destroy it. However, in most places, that is illegal. Does that mean there is nothing I can do when there are drones outside my house? No, there are ways to deal with it.

You can stop a drone from spying on you by installing security cameras or devices that detect drones in your area. Ensure that your property is secure and taking measures to stop drones from flying over your area.  If you see a drone, try to identify the operator and their purpose. 

 However, it is important to note that the drone might just be passing across your property, going somewhere else. 

Depending on your surroundings, the camera might also be trained elsewhere, maybe an attractive scenery neighboring your home. Nevertheless, if you are really sure of the invasion of your privacy, here are ways that might help find a solution :

Read about the drone laws.

Yes, you should first understand the drone laws in your area to ensure the pilot is out of order before taking matters into your own hands. It will also give you the confidence to ask someone to stop infringing on your privacy rights. 

Knowing the drone laws will also prevent you from breaking the law trying to solve the issue. It will also guide on what to do when a drone pilot is breaking the law and where to report them.

Collect your proof

Document everything that may seem relevant in strengthening your report. Take videos or photos of the times and dates the same drone has been in your presence. This will be easier to report to the authorities than just telling them some drone is spying on you.

Talk to the drone pilot

In most places, drone pilots are supposed to fly the UAVs in their line of sight. This means they are probably around watching their drones as it freaks you out. If possible, look for them and talk about it. 

Tell them how the drone is infringing on your privacy. With the knowledge of the laws and evidence you collected, the chat might be easier. Who knows, their side of the argument might make sense, and it all might be a big misunderstanding.

Try changing your routes

Chances are, someone spying on you is your stalker who knows your routines. Try changing your routes to see if the drone is still on your trail. This might also create a reprieve to think of the next action to take.

Report to the authorities

With the surety that someone is spying on you, report to the authorities with your evidence. Go to the FAA and the local police and let them know someone is misusing their drone and infringing on your privacy. 

FAQs

Can you shoot down a drone spying on you?

It is illegal to shoot down a drone in most countries, as drones are considered aircraft. If you do shoot down a drone, you could be charged with destruction of property or endangerment.

What can I do if I notice a drone is spying on me?

If you believe that a drone is spying on you, the best course of action is to contact law enforcement. They will be able to investigate the matter and take appropriate action. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration if you believe that the drone was being operated illegally.

Conclusion

While drones are meant to be used for personal and commercial purposes, there is always the potential for misuse. Drones can be equipped with cameras and other surveillance equipment, which could be used to spy on people without their knowledge or consent. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from drone spying, including being aware of your surroundings and taking measures to secure your property. If you believe that a drone is spying on you, the best course of action is to contact law enforcement.

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.
paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.

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