The Drones – Part Two – The Right To Hide Vs The Right To Spy

I am unsettled by the concept of legal rights. Oh, I like ’em when they make my life freer and easier and protect me from tyranny. I treasure my copy of Tom Paine’s Rights Of Man, as well as a red cap and a pike on which to exhibit aristocrat’s heads. The guillotining has stopped for the present but I am ready when it starts up again. In the meantime I have my knitting…

But I am not at all sure about the business of rights in the flying of electric drone aircraft – and it bothers me because the shop that I write weblog columns for sells a number of them. I am unsure exactly what to think.

It has been suggested to me that I am the king of my domestic castle and should hold the sole right of privacy within my property. Hah. I have a wife, daughter, and Siamese cat, and have a more realistic idea of my royal position… But I am still apparently to be guaranteed complete privacy within my Hardies Super Sixdom – my back yard should be inviolate and I have been told that I should be free to sunbake nude there all year-long provided I cannot be seen from the footpath.

A delightful prospect. Particularly in the July rains. I shall prepare myself accordingly.

But what if my neighbour puts up a stepladder against the side of his fence and peers in at me while I lie there. What right have I then? What right he…or she? What is the law that keeps them off the stepladder, legitimately trimming their mango trees? Or cleaning the gutters or painting the roof? What law, indeed, prohibits them from sitting on the roof at any time that they choose? Provided they sit quietly and don’t pelt passers-by with mangoes, they would seem to be legitimately – if eccentrically – in possession of their own property and free to sit on that roof.

And I free to sit on mine.