iN VIDEO: Kamloops woman spots sneaky drone watching her from window | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: Kamloops woman spots sneaky drone watching her from window

Drone pilots must keep their devices within their line of sight at all times, but Embury and her housemates could find nobody in the vicinity when they went outside to check.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Pxfuel

We all know of the classic and creepy Peeping Toms, but with new technology comes even more unsettling ways you could have your privacy violated, as one Kamloops woman discovered recently.

Dominique Embury was relaxing at home in the evening of Dec. 18 when she noticed something was spying on her, and she called for her housemates.

“I was sitting on the couch texting on my phone, doing whatever and I looked up… I was like, ’there’s a drone staring at me through the living room window!’ So my boyfriend comes rushing out and he’s like, ‘what are you talking about? There’s nothing there,' because it had flown away.”

She saw a small black drone with green and red lights, which took off as soon as she spotted it.

Embury’s roommate yelled to the couple that the drone had flown by another window, but when they went outside to check, it was gone.

Embury has video surveillance cameras on her home, and the trio rushed to check the footage.

The drone had come by their house, hovered near each of their vehicles, and took off to the end of the street. It returned, hovered near the vehicles again at license plate level, and then watched Embury in her living room for nearly two minutes.

“It was probably a good minute and a half or two minutes… it’s little creepy,” Embury says. “At the end of our street in between two houses there's a walking path so we get a lot of sketchy people walking up and down this road. Last year we caught people trying to open up our truck doors, so I guess you can say my boyfriend and the roommate are a little paranoid.”

Credit: SUBMITTED / Dominique Embury
Embury says you can see the drone hovering over a neighbour's house. The machine then flies down to their property where you can see the reflection of the drone on the truck's hood and roof, with the reflection placing it right in front of their living room window. When it returns at the end of the video, it hovers by the truck at the license plate level.

Embury says she fears it could be a tactic used by thieves or other questionable characters.

“We asked the neighbour beside us because he’s got a couple of girls and we though maybe they got an early Christmas present, we called them and it wasn’t him. There is a couple more kids up the street, but it was none of them, either… whoever was flying the drone had pretty good accuracy with it, they knew what they were doing,” Embury says.

Embury has a few cheap drones without cameras that they fly around their house for fun, but noticing a stranger's drone with a camera made her uneasy. The group was confused by the fact the drone left and returned, and not being able to see a pilot nearby was unsettling. 

“I have no issue with people flying drones. They’re fun, they’re cool. We play with our little ones and whatnot, it’s just a little creepy that you can’t see anyone outside flying it and it was right outside our living room window.”

According to a map made by the National Research Council Canada, basic drone flights are prohibited within a 1.9-kilometre radius of the Royal Inland Hospital and within a 5.6-kilometre radius from the Kamloops Airport. Embury’s home on Russet Wynd in Valleyview is out of those boundaries, but flying recreationally within residential areas still has restrictions. 

Transportation Canada put stricter rules in place for drone pilots this year.

Drones over 250 grams are to be flown by a certified drone pilot and marked with a registration number, but Embury wasn’t able to see such details. She says the drone was about six inches by six inches, which means it may have fallen below that weight category.

Regardless of weight, all drone owners must keep their drones where they can see it at all times and must obey privacy rules. Collecting personal information, such as license plates and an image of a person’s face, could have legal implications.

“Take reasonable steps to avoid capturing personal information you don’t need,” reads the Transportation Canada’s Website. “If it’s likely you will capture people’s personal information on your flight, take reasonable steps to tell those affected and get their consent.”

Embury says she didn’t report the drone to the police because she believes nothing could be done in such a situation.

“I don’t understand what the police could do for someone flying a drone, because you don’t know where it’s coming from," Embury says. "The newer, popular drones, they can fly like kilometres away and you don't even need to be near it. You can be flying it from your house if it has a camera, so it’s hard to pinpoint where it’s coming from.”

While she isn’t able to figure out who was scoping out her house, Embury is now aware that people can peep in and she says she’ll be closing her blinds from now on.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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