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Legality in Texas?

lordofshadows

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So I understand the FAA rules, but I think Texas has a rule along the lines of "surveillance" or some such, am I good taking video flying around my neighborhood, over parks (but not taking off from them), and lakes, and generally any pretty landscape that is not privately owned, a prison, industrial site etc that are obviously off limits

Think the law currently is "Sec. 423.003"
Laws: GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 423. USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

What has me concerned is the broad definition of surveillance, I mean, if some one walks down the side walk into the camera did I commit a crime?

Edit: The law very much reads like "it's legal for me, but not for you"


Note: Had police called on my first flight in my neighborhood with my mavik 2 zoom, did not talk to them as they didn't know who was flying, but I dont think I did anything wrong
 
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ZX14-R

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Interesting.
 

MAvic_South_Oz

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Note: Had police called on my first flight in my neighborhood with my mavik 2 zoom, did not talk to them as they didn't know who was flying, but I dont think I did anything wrong
If you were low enough to be heard / noticed by neighbours, then it might be a good idea in future to take off and go high straight away, say at least 50m, then fly out.
Don't use sports mode, keep stick inputs 'quiet' and most wouldn't know it was there.

As long as you are flying legally to FAA rules and local laws (using city land) then you should be ok to talk to the Police.
Know your rights and legal standing, the Police might well just go and tell the complainant that the operator is withing guidelines and not spying.
If it's just one person complaining, that could resolve your issue.

That said, it shouldn't be long, you simply won't WANT to fly around the 'burbs, but more remote places with the landscapes etc drone fliers usually seek.
 

Meta4

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What has me concerned is the broad definition of surveillance, I mean, if some one walks down the side walk into the camera did I commit a crime?

Edit: The law very much reads like "it's legal for me, but not for you"
Here's how that secton of the law reads:
Sec. 423.003. OFFENSE: ILLEGAL USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT TO CAPTURE IMAGE. (a) A person commits an offense if the person uses an unmanned aircraft to capture an image of an individual or privately owned real property in this state with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image.

Are you capturing images of individuals or property with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image?









 

lordofshadows

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Definitely not, but all it would take is some one to accuse me of doing so I would think
 

Aerial-Pixel

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In other words, don't be a peeping Tom, no taking pictures of sunbathers on their own property, no peeking in windows... etc. etc.
If you are taking general photos and videos not-fixated on a specific person or property you will be fine I'd think.
 

AMann

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Wow, it’s good that Google Earth doesn’t cover Texas! Oh, wait a minute...
 
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Filipok

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In Texas, you can fly over private property. There is absolutely no law against it. The FAA uses a catch-all phrase and says that flying over houses or apartments is private property and against their regulations. They only try to enforce that if they want to jack with you. I mean, almost everything is private property. So logically, if that were the case, you couldn't fly your drone anywhere. There is absolutely no legal basis against flying over apartments or homes in Texas. As long as you're not in a NFZ, over people that aren't aware of your drone, flying over moving vehicles, prison, or in a city or state park, you're legal.

With that said, I see a ton of videos all over the place of people flying over cars. I've also heard a lot of people talking about getting calls from the FAA regarding videos they're posting here and on social media. So, be very careful about where and what you post.

Fly safe.
 
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dawgpilot

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The FAA uses a catch-all phrase and says that flying over houses or apartments is private property and against their regulations
The FAA says no such thing. There is no federal rule prohibiting flights over private property. (assuming the airspace is otherwise OK to fly in, i.e. not in controlled airspace without authorization, TFR, etc)
 
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dawgpilot

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I'm sorry. You're incorrect. I was just contacted by an FAA inspector for exactly this issue. I'll post the exact verbiage he sent to me in an email and a letter when I get back to my office.
Please do, because I'm very curious what this guy supposedly told you. I hold a Part 107 certificate, among other FAA certificates, and consider myself fairly knowledgeable about FAA regulations. I've never seen any regulation that is a blanket prohibition for flying over private property.

If this Inspector really is telling people they can't fly over private property, then we need to take this up with the FAA General Counsel's office, as that is contrary to any published federal regulation.
 

Filipok

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I will immediately after I get to my home office. Unfortunately, I shredded the letter because I knew he was just trying to bust my*****, but I still have his email.
 
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Filipok

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Please do, because I'm very curious what this guy supposedly told you. I hold a Part 107 certificate, among other FAA certificates, and consider myself fairly knowledgeable about FAA regulations. I've never seen any regulation that is a blanket prohibition for flying over private property.

If this Inspector really is telling people they can't fly over private property, then we need to take this up with the FAA General Counsel's office, as that is contrary to any published federal regulation.

I have sent you a private message.
 
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BigAl07

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I will immediately after I get to my home office. Unfortunately, I shredded the letter because I knew he was just trying to bust my ***** but I still have his email.

I think you're "Stance" with the FAA and this particular inspector is about 180deg off base. They are looking to EDUCATE and trying to help keep incidents etc from happening. They would much rather be doing many other things than investigating rogue sUAS operations.

I'm confident he can "resend" your letter if you need it for your records.
 

BigAl07

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Please do, because I'm very curious what this guy supposedly told you. I hold a Part 107 certificate, among other FAA certificates, and consider myself fairly knowledgeable about FAA regulations. I've never seen any regulation that is a blanket prohibition for flying over private property.

If this Inspector really is telling people they can't fly over private property, then we need to take this up with the FAA General Counsel's office, as that is contrary to any published federal regulation.

EXACTLY! That FAA isn't concerned about Private Property or any other local ordinances/rules. They deal with Safety of the NAS and leave the other "Fun Stuff" to local authorities.
 
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MAvic_South_Oz

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In Australia, CASA (our regulator) ask you fly to their rules, and ASK that you respect privacy.
Obviously this is someone elses jurisdiction, most likely the Police.

Privacy laws in most western countries will be similar, you can expect privacy where you can reasonably be expected to receive privacy.
It's a bit of a grey / gray area generally.

Privacy.
Never in public in most situations, you can be filmed / photographed legally on the street of in the public domain, specific aspects of filming children (understandably) generally apply.
At you home property, an unfenced front yard, curtains open, visible in general, you can be seen / photographed inside your home.
At you home property, in a fenced back yard, not visible from the adjoining properties, you can expect privacy sunbathing on a deck etc.

How high would provide such privacy if a camera was filming downwards ?
Often you don't see such detail when flying, but on the computer screen / tv at home in playback it can be quite obvious.
I know I've flown quite a few beaches and not seen a person walking a dog until playback on larger viewing device, applies to wires and such too !!

I think each borderline privacy case would have to be proven in court, so really it's at the discretion of the judge, or possibly a jury.
Not having the highest respect for many judges / peoples common sense nowadays, I think it's best to err on the side of caution when flying over property.

CASA defines no firm rules for flying over property either, just the usual stay 30m away from people (laterally), and don't fly in a way that creates a hazard to another person, aircraft or property (now that's vague isn't it ?).
So many here in Australia simply do simply not fly over suburbs for example, even at daybreak when no person might be visible.
 
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BigAl07

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Please post the FAA advice rather than sending it as a PM to just one member.
It doesn't match any of their published regulations.
I agree.

For total transparency we absolutely HAVE had an FAA agent/office giving some advice that was less than accurate. When this happens it's taken to the appropriate people (just like any other organization/entity Govt or not) so that additional training can take place. I'm key to find out exactly what was said and if needed we can make sure the proper offices are notified so everyone is reading from the same sheet of music.
 

Filipok

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Here is an outstanding lengthy discussion on the topic.

 

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