New Law Cracking Down on Drone Usage

(Indiana Statehouse Newsroom) - For those who want to use the technology to spy, harass, or interfere with police, you're going to want to think twice. Now, you can be charged with a crime if you do.

It's a law drone experts hope will remove those who abuse the skies.

The drone business is a buzz across Indiana.

Andrew Hawes, Indy Aerial Photography owner says, "You've got agricultural, public safety, real estate.”

Matt Austin started Aerial Imaging Resources a few years ago, saying, "I like new technology."

It's a passion that's turned into big business.

“We have more work than we can handle at the moment," says Austin.

He's not alone.

Andrew Hawes started Indy Aerial Photography three years ago as well, saying, "Heart still beats fast every time I fly it."

He has doubled his business each year, "With drones, you've got the ability to be set free. You can get in pretty tight spots, and get a completely different perspective."

The unique angle is what worries some legislators. Because of this, as of July, users can be criminally charged.

Here's how: if a drone is used by a sex offender to capture images of people, if someone gets in the way of an investigation, uses a drone to peep, or harass someone.

Austins says, "Anyone, or hobbyist trying to do anything negative with technology, I think it prevents that."

Another reason for the law, it's easier to get a drone.

Commercial technology may be heavy, and cost thousands, but that's not always the case. Some drones weigh less than a pound, have a camera, only cost a few hundred bucks, and are controlled by a smart device.

"It's only going to make the skies safer and easier for the guys that want to get out there and do it the right way," says Hawes.

Commercial drone owners know the demand will entice more to take to the sky,

Austin says, "I think it's really going to start booming here in the next couple years."

"You're going to see these everywhere. It's only the tip of the iceberg, right now," says Hawes.

The law allows for misdemeanors or felonies, based on past criminal history.

If convicted, you could not only face prison time, but fines upwards of ten thousand dollars.

(This story was originally published July 12, 2017)


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