Wondering why are drones following me. Don’t worry, there’s a reasonable explanation for it. Learn about the various purposes drones are used for and how they track objects and people.
The advent of drones and their increasing capabilities have come to fulfill some challenging functions and processes across different industry sectors.
Though drones bring us a huge number of benefits, there is also widespread concern among people that drones are infringing on their privacy and collecting their personal and sensitive information.
We come across a number of controversies regarding drones following people around. A lot of people are lodging complaints on drones following them.
Hence we are now confronted with a very important topic such as why a drone would follow you.
If you are damn sure that a drone is following you, it is highly probable that someone is spying on you. A drone is said to follow you around only if someone operates it to spy on you and collect your personal information.
In this article, I am discussing the reasons to help decide if a drone is following you. I will also suggest you some technologies to help ascertain if a drone is spying on you.
At the end of this article, I have also suggested what is to be done if you find a drone following you.
Why Are Drones Following Me?
Is It Possible To Use Drones For Surveillance?
Drones are extensively used for surveillance. Most surveillance agencies have nowadays resorted to using drones for their surveillance missions on different purposes.
In fact, drones prove to be more useful for surveillance than other options available today. When equipped with the right kind of technology, drones can take surveillance to the next level.
For instance, the basic technology used in drones that is very useful for surveillance is GPS tracking. The other features of drones that come to the aid of surveying are object tracking, video camera, and facial recognition.
Built on some advanced technologies, some higher-end drone models have far advanced surveillance capabilities. Some notable additions in drones we can mention in these lines are radar, license plate readers, thermal sensors and cell phone interception.
The majority of drones lack all these surveillance capabilities. However, they can be used for basic level surveillance functions and to gather some information about you.
Nevertheless, in general, terms, using drones for such purposes is illegal and will amount to infringing on other people’s privacy.
Most sophisticated surveillance drones find their surveillance applications with intelligence agencies and the military.
Also, such types of advanced drones are also used by public safety agencies in cities and state commonly for investigating crimes, search and rescue, finding stolen goods, chasing thieves, and other surveillance purposes.
Most consumer drones you will find in the market have surveillance capabilities to some extent. However, spying on common people is an act of felony. If you suspect that a drone is spying on you, you can lodge a complaint with the police.
Can Drones Hear And Record Conversations?
You may be shocked when I say drones can listen to conversations, but it is very much true. When fitted with advanced technology, a drone can hear your conversation, says a congressional report published in 2013.
The fact that drones can listen to our conversations can be really annoying. Right now, the majority of consumer drones cannot record audio since they do not have in-built microphones. But, advanced drone models designed for surveillance purposes can record audio.
There is an obvious reason why drones cannot record sound. If you attach a microphone to a drone, the predominant sound it will be able to record is the propeller’s noise and not any other external sound.
For this reason, big drone manufacturers like DJI have not included any microphones in their drones.
So, to put it in a nutshell, drones can listen to conversations provided they are fitted with an advanced audio recording device so that the propeller noise is avoided and the required audio is refined.
While good surveillance drones have these capabilities, most drones are not capable of recording sound.
How To Find Out If A Drone Is Spying On You?
As it was said earlier, it is possible to use drones for spying. However, just because you see a drone near you, you have no reasons to conclude that someone is spying on you.
While most people seeing a drone near their property go by the assumption that they are spied on, this might not be always true.
If a drone has to spy on you, you will be able to spot the drone without any special equipment. It will be easier to spot a drone if it is flown near to you to gather any visual information. Also, due to their noise, drones cannot fly stealthily.
Some smaller drones cannot be seen so easily. If you have any doubts that a drone is spying on you, but the drone is neither visible nor can be heard, there are other methods to find out if the drone is spying on you.
Radio counter-surveillance system
A radio counter-surveillance system is a very useful tool for tracking down a drone that is flying near you if you have doubts that a drone is spying on you.
This system can decode the radio signals generated by the drone and can reveal the point of origin of the drone signals.
Drone Detector App
Android and iOS users can find some apps on the app store to find out if a drone is spying on them. Apps like Aerial Armor and DroneWatcher can detect the drones that are near your smartphone or tablet.
Such apps have been integrated with several radars, ADS-B, and RF sensors to equip you with some advanced security zone layers.
When a drone enters the airspace that is being monitored, an alert notification will be sent on your smartphone or tablet.
Buy an anti-drone radar detector device
The anti-drone radar detector is a popular device used to detect if there are any drones flying nearby. Such radar detector devices are exclusively designed to detect radio frequencies and WiFi signals that can let you know if a drone is flying in a given area.
Priced somewhere between $25 and $30, such anti-drone radar detector devices are on sale on Amazon.
Is The Drone Following You Constantly?
If you find a drone constantly following you, it can be a sure sign that someone is spying on you with their drone.
If you come to across such a situation, try changing the directions of your walk. If the drone is still following you wherever you go, you may conclude that someone is spying on you.
What Must You Do If You Feel A Drone Follows You?
If you have strong reasons to suspect that a drone is following you, the first thought that will come to your mind is to shoot down the drone.
However, you must know that shooting down a drone is illegal. If you are caught shooting down a drone, you will be fined heavily and can be imprisoned for up to 20 years.
Drones are treated on par with aircraft according to FAA. Drones are protected by federal laws. Therefore, it is not a good idea to shoot down a drone.
If you wonder what to do if you suspect a drone spying on you, here are the different options to consider depending on the situation.
- Place a request to the one piloting the drone
Most often when drone operators fly their drones to take aerial photographs of the area, people might suspect that the drone is flown to spy on them.
If you come across such a situation, start a friendly conversation with the drone operator asking what they are flying their drone for.
In most cases, drones are flown high. Even those drones that are flying low might not be following you most of the time.
The drone camera might be taking shots for maps, monitoring the construction area or gathering information on properties for sale.
Since there could be a number of reasons for flying a drone, it is good to know those reasons before trying to file a complaint against the drone pilot.
Nevertheless, if you cannot find the drone operator and that the drone is seen following you constantly, there are chances that someone is watching you.
- Consult the local drone laws
When you cannot find the drone pilot, the next thing you can do is to consult the local drone laws. It is important to ascertain what you want to complain about before resorting to legal help.
There are drone laws against trespassing, harassment, and spying. Find out which kinds of laws are applicable in your area and draft your complaint using the right terms and descriptions.
- Gather evidence
Once you are sure that the drone is spying on you, you must first gather the evidence. While taking your complaint, the legal authorities will want to know as much evidence as possible to take any action.
Therefore, it is important to document whatever you observe and mention the same in the complaint you produce the authorities.
Do not forget to mention the specific time and date when you came across the incident. Taking drone pictures and recording videos can help in easy identification of the drone.
- Report to local police
When you are ready with the evidence, you may approach the local police to lodge a complaint against the drone pilot.
Give all the evidence that you have gathered to produce proof that the drone is following you without any obvious reasons. Following your complaint, the police will start an investigation and find out the drone owner.
- Report to the FAA
In addition to filing a complaint with the local police, you may also report the issue to the FAA about drone misuse.
FAA has stated that anyone can contact the flight’s standards district office if they spot a drone not complying with the FAA rules. The contact details of FAA flight standards district office can be gathered from the official website of FAA.
The majority of the drones you see flying in the air are only doing their job and you do not have reasons to assume that they are following you.
Nevertheless, if you have strong reasons to suspect that a drone is spying on you, you can lodge a complaint to the local police besides reporting the same to the FAA.
The local police are the appropriate authorities to deal with the spying cases. The local police will act on complaints including spying, stalking or trespassing.
Before you contact the police, it is necessary to gather as much evidence as possible. Some useful information you may mention in your complaint includes the details of the drone model, and the time and date when you suspected the drone to have spied on you.
The best thing is to produce videos and pictures of the drone if you can.
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Jon is a passionate photographer and videographer who has been flying DJI drones for over 5 years. He loves the freedom and creativity that comes with capturing aerial footage and the unique perspective it provides. Jon is always on the lookout for new locations to explore and capture with his DJI drones. His favorite DJI drone is the Mavic 2 Pro, which he uses to capture stunning 4K footage with its Hasselblad camera. Jon is always eager to share his knowledge and experience with other drone enthusiasts and is a member of several online drone communities. When he’s not flying his DJI drone, Jon enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with his family.