Are Creepy Dudes Now Using Drone Technology For Their Nefarious Ends?

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 10:19 EDT
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Why is it that so many technological innovations are immediately pounced upon by creepy dudes whose only thought is, “How can I use this to abuse and punish women for their continuing insistence that they are full human beings instead of walking sex toys that  I should be able to use how I like?” Most news coverage regarding drones is about the debate over their use as weapons, so you might not know that drones—which are basically just flying robots—are sold commercially and can be used for all sorts of stuff. Mostly as toys, frankly, but that’s okay. That’s mostly what smart phones are used for, and that’s a good thing, since fun is good.

Except, of course, the Creeps of America have decided to use them to spy on women in their homes. In Seattle, a woman reported to the media a confrontation with a man who kept flying a drone around her house, one that had a camera.

This afternoon, a stranger set an aerial drone into flight over my yard and beside my house near Miller Playfield. I initially mistook its noisy buzzing for a weed-whacker on this warm spring day. After several minutes, I looked out my third-story window to see a drone hovering a few feet away. My husband went to talk to the man on the sidewalk outside our home who was operating the drone with a remote control, to ask him to not fly his drone near our home. The man insisted that it is legal for him to fly an aerial drone over our yard and adjacent to our windows. He noted that the drone has a camera, which transmits images he viewed through a set of glasses. He purported to be doing “research”. We are extremely concerned, as he could very easily be a criminal who plans to break into our house or a peeping-tom.

Now, there’s a lot of possibilities here, but the proliferation of men in parking lots and public transportation trying to get “creep shots” suggests that on the list of likely possibilities, that this guy is trying to win Reddit by getting the creepiest shot ranks high. Unfortunately, as Rebecca Rosen reports at The Atlantic, this is a legal gray area—this is a consistent problem when it comes to men forcing unwilling women into amateur porn—meaning that remedies outside of just legal prosecution of these assholes might have to be considered.

I know some of our readers here have been involved in groups like End Revenge Porn, so I encourage you to share your experiences fighting this shit in comments. In the aftermath of the Cleveland abductions, it appears we’re not actually going to have a national conversation about the widespread cultural problem of those men amongst us who assume that women they encounter are theirs for the taking. Of course, most creeps don’t take it to the lengths that Ariel Castro did, in no small part because they seem to be obsessed with figuring out what the laws are and taking as much as they feel they can without getting into legal trouble. But there’s a common underlying principle behind forcing women into “creep shot” porn and illegal actions like kidnapping and rape: It’s all about erasing a woman’s right to control her body and insisting that no, you get to use it for your sexual and sadistic kicks whether she likes it or not.

The law can only do so much. The only way to fix this problem is to see creeps of all levels for who they are, and not treat it like it’s a harmless problem right up until they break an actual law like trespassing, kidnapping, or sexual assault. Which means social shunning, outing of men who share creep shots online, and internet services being responsive to requests for swift removal of non-consenting porn.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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