MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Imagine you’re in the privacy of your own home — possibly in a compromising position — and you turn around and see a drone just a few feet from you. A Brickell Key woman says that’s what happened to her while she was breastfeeding her child earlier this week inside the family’s 12th floor condo.
Christina Alessi says she was sitting at her kitchen table breastfeeding her 15-month old daughter on Tuesday when she had a strange feeling.
“I was in a bit of a compromising position and I felt the feeling of someone staring at me and I looked up and there was a robot staring at me,” Alessi said.
She said it was a drone and she snapped a photo of it. She said it hovered just a few feet from her window for about 15 seconds, flew away and then returned. Alessi said she could see the lens on the drone.
“It was staring straight at me,” she said.
Alessi says her fear is that the drone recorded her.
“I could only assume that I was being recorded because there was a camera there,” she said. “This could be displayed again. I don’t know what purposes they could use it for. It seems like a pervert to me.”
She reported the drone to her building management but first she called her husband who wanted to exact some revenge.
“He says, ‘Well get a broom and swat that thing!’ she said. “I said, ‘I don’t know if it’s gonna come back’ but I got the broom handy.”
Alessi’s privacy concerns are real, says Michelle Richardson with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Richardson pointed to a new Florida law that will go into effect this summer — called the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act” as a good first step towards regulating drones. Richardson said the law will impose civil penalties on drone users that capture images of unknowing people on private property where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
“When you’re talking about looking into people’s homes and violating individual privacy, it’s an unchartered area,” Richardson said. “And we’re really doing this for the first time in Florida.”
Alessi hopes others hear her story and realize that no matter where you live or how high up there might be a high tech Peeping Tom keeping tabs on you.
“I think it’s scary,” she said. “I think it’s a little nerve-wracking that you can’t do what you want inside your house without knowing something is out there watching you do it.”
The federal government is aware of the privacy concerns. The Commerce Department is working on codes of conduct for drone users.
Also, there is legislation filed in Congress that would severely limit the use of the drones. The bill filed by Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass) would demand that anyone with a license to fly a drone disclose whether data will be collected by the drone and how that data will be used.