An artist photographed his neighbors through their windows, allegedly without their knowledge.  When the neighbors sued, a New York state court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim.  Now the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division has affirmed that ruling.  Martha G. Foster, et al. v. Arne Svenson, index number 651826/13, in the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department.

The panel noted that New York has limited its invasion of privacy remedies to certain statutory provisions.  These statutory provisions did not reach to the photographer’s conduct.
But would the same conduct have been illegal if the photographer had instead used a drone to snap the shots?

As explained in the Privacy (U.S.) chapter of Reed Smith’s white paper – Crowded Skies: Opportunities and Challenges in an Era of Drones, the answer varies from state to state.  Idaho, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin all have state laws that regulate, prohibit, or even criminalize capturing someone’s image via drone without consent.  Additional state laws may apply, and new laws are developing quickly.

Note:  Mark and Patrick will present “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s A Drone!:  Balancing Usage, Privacy, and Safety” to the N.J. State Bar Association April 21, 2015, 12:00 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. Eastern Time.