British Columbia

YouTube video shows drone buzzing Vancouver apartment

Privacy concerns raised after drone hovers outside residential windows.

Resident says it sounded like a swarm of bees were headed to his 36th floor patio

Conner Galway was pretty surprised to hear what sounded like a swarm of bees outside his apartment Sunday night, not least because even birds are usually few and far between outside the windows of his 36th floor condo.

Galway was having dinner on his patio when the buzzing began, and was taken aback when a little helicopter with red and green lights popped up. He took a short video of the drone, posting it to YouTube.

"The future is creepy," he commented on Twitter.

"I thought, this can't be real — or right," he told CBC News.

His concern mounted after the drone stuck around for what he estimates at half an hour, moving from apartment to apartment, before returning to within a couple of feet of his window.

Conner Galway was concerned when a drone hovered outside his 36th floor Vancouver apartment. (CBC)

"I said, 'Okay, that's enough,' and phoned the Vancouver Police Department non-emergency line.

"Drones can be so cool, but they create privacy issues," he said, noting his concern is that the drone flew so close to his patio.

The VPD say there have been 10 complaints about drones since May, and they are looking into the incident at the weekend. While commercial users require a license, there is currently no such requirement for recreational use.

"Since May of this year, we've had a number of complaints — including the latest from the weekend — where it appears that somebody is using this aircraft to fly around apartment buildings," said Sgt. Randy Fincham.

"At this point we don't know if that craft is being used to videotape or view inside those apartments."

Fincham said that although users could be charged with voyeurism or criminal harassment, the problem is tracking the operators down.

Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said that drones create a grey area around privacy issues.

"We may have to review that in light of flying cameras and it might be one of those places the law has to evolve to," she said.

With files from Meera Bains


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