What happened to Dan Mouneimne’s step daughter boils down to what could be considered troublesome use of technology. She was sitting outside of a downtown Tampa bar, when a drone started hovering around her. It followed her to her car, and then crashed into the roof.
Mouneimne called police, who told him he could keep the drone, but other than that there was little else they could do.
“You can hurt somebody with this,” Mouneimne said. “By chasing them, just like she did with Emily. She chased her there to here she got in her car and it fell on her car.”
Problem is, the technology has evolved so quickly, laws governing the use of drones has simply not caught up. Bryant Camareno is a criminal defense attorney and legal expert in Tampa.
“The laws are not up to date. And, since drones are relatively new, right now there are no laws that cover what a drone can do and can they video tape from afar?” Camareno said. “So that’s right, I think the legislature needs to look at it and do something about it.”
Camareno adds, there could be criminal and/or civil penalties if the drone operator is located. But, criminal charges would only be brought, if it can be determined that he or she intentionally crashed the device. Someone should be responsible for the damage to the car, and that’s where a civil case could be established.
Mouneimne says, so far, police have not contacted him telling him they have located the drone’s operator. But he believes the laws regulating these flying machines should be strengthened.
“It’s an invasion of people’s privacy,” he said. “Can go places and see what other people are doing. Record them. Taking video tapes. People’s lives are not a game.”