Two recent news stories both have involved the use of technology that is capable of invading the privacy of your home... including your backyard with everything and everyone in it (down to objects as small as 4 inches wide.)
The first, involves Google and Apple joining forces to use military-grade cameras to take powerful satellite images:
Beware the spy in the sky: After those Street View snoopers, Google and Apple use planes that can film you sunbathing in your back garden
The second, a current Senate Bill being introduced to prevent the government from using warrantless aerial drone cameras for surveillance of U.S. citizens:
Sen. Paul proposes bill protecting Americans from drone surveillance
Do you still have a reasonable expectation of a right to privacy in your own backyard?
Do you view these types of surveillance as invasive or inevitable?
Do you think that Google/Apple have the right to post your detailed (to this extreme) image of your home online?
I think private property should have the same protection from the sky as it does from the ground. If it is trespassing to enter someone's property by walking on to it then I think the same rules should apply from above and it should be private. They can take pictures of the public street all they want but they shouldn't be able to take pictures of someone's back yard.
Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013
I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson
A friend of mine in law enforcement says you shouldn't consider it "private" unless it has a roof, and I tend to agree with that. Of course, I'm a long-time apartment dweller so the notion of privacy in one's backyard is laughable to me; I can easily see into at least a dozen backyards from the second floor balcony, maybe more if I went up to the roof. You have the right to look at anything you can see from any place you have the legal right to be, and in many states you also have the right to photograph or video anything you can see from any place you have the legal right to be, and I don't see any difference with photos taken from an airplane or satelite. Barbra Streisand once tried to sue a guy who took a photo of her home, on a cliff on the Malibu coast, from a helicopter flying over the ocean claiming that he violated her right to privacy; the court agreed with the photographer.
I don't consider aerial views to be "surveillance" anyway; surveillance to me is actively watching someone. Aerial views are simply documenting whatever happens to be visible on a snapshot in time. Google Street View has to blur all visible license plate numbers and people's faces, and they have to should do the same for anything identifiable on aerial views. I just looked at Google Street View for my neighborhood’s shopping district, and they’ve blurred all kinds of things like the names of the papers in street dispensers as well as the headlines, parking restriction signs, signs that list the hours a store is open, some graffiti but not all, they even blurred out menus posted at restaurants! Google Aerial View also blurs out a bunch of stuff, including something on my neighbor's roof (nude sunbather, I'd guess, since they sunbathe naked in the yard, too) and part of my sister’s convertible; the top was down when the satelite was overhead!
The aerial view of Philip Garrido's home was key to Jaycee Dugard's claim against the State of California that parole officers should have found her; the compound of tents & sheds where she & her daughters lived were clearly visible within the property line. Not a single parole officer ever went back there, and yet, they all signed off that they had "inspected" the backyard. That doesn't mean that aerial view is going to save another kidnap victim, but I guess I don't see any harm in the documentation of things in this way.
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I'm torn on this. I agree that if you are outside you are in public but I don't expect my picture to be taken while I'm gardening and all messy or hanging out with my kiddos. I don't stand outside nude as I do have neighbors but since I am not expecting my picture to be taken and I am on my property I'm not comfortable with this.
Mom to E and C
I do understand your point that you are able to view into others' backyard from your balcony -- and I'm certain many of us here would be able to see into another neighbor's yard(s) as well. Still, to me there remains even in those situations a reasonable privacy available. Many people have opted to put up a privacy fence between their yard and those of their neighbors. This goes far beyond the basic satellite views already available on Google maps which typically show property lines, indicate whether a pool or other backyard structure is present, etc. Instead, these are capable of zooming in from the sky to capture details as minute as 4 inches wide and make that available on the 'net. You still do not believe that is invasive?
aerial drones used along the border offer real time data back to the control center that is then shared with the border patrol agents on the ground. The bill from Sen. Ryan is to protect U.S. citizens from the use of these as warrant-less surveillance. Since these do seem to fit your definition of surveillance, would you be in support of this type of bill?
Finally, I know that you made some really good points and I do appreciate your sharing that about the ruling in the Barbara Streisand case. I still believe, however, that individuals should have a reasonable right of privacy within their own backyard... particularly for children.
I do not believe without just cause that people should be allowed to take pictures of anything in my backyard. This is especially true for children
Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson