Drone at White House raises privacy and security concerns

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and neighbors are discussing security breaches after a hobbyist claimed his drone landed on the White House grounds early Monday morning undetected.

It’s raising questions about regulations, privacy and security.

Drones are becoming hobbyists’ favorite new toy, and a security nightmare for others. Easy to buy and operate,  drones are listed for as little as $50 on some websites.

Brian Hearing, of D.C.-based DroneShield, says the White House breach is raising more questions about regulating drone activity.

“Now, anybody can hover over your neighbor’s fence and take pictures,” Hearing says.

That includes the president’s fence.

Hearing’s company was born out of security concerns. Installed on existing security fences, an industrial-grade microphone picks up on the hum that drones emit as they come within range.

“We use acoustics.  So we listen for sounds that drones make. it’s a really unique sound — it’s unlike anything else on the planet,” he says.

That matches to a database of drone sounds and can trigger an alert within security systems. Overall, while drone technology is advancing, so is the technology to arm against them.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

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