Drone surveillance has been a controversial topic in South Florida ever since the Miami Beach Police Department acquired its own drone in 2010. The Florida Senate is inching toward outlawing the use of drones for police surveillance.
But what about for surveillance of reality stars?
The producers of The Real Housewives of Miami have asked the City of Miami Beach for permission to use small, helicopter-like technology -- drones, essentially -- in the filming of its upcoming third season, the Miami Herald reports.
The devices, weighing about 14 pounds and with props measuring six inches, sound like high-tech versions of toy helicopters -- and they would be used in the same way helicopters are used. Cooper Green, the vice president of RHOM production company Purveyors of Pop, told the Herald that the drones are commonly used in Hollywood, saying he's used them for the past 15 years. They're for capturing B-roll shots, he says, referring to the snippets of scenery the show uses to link together its scenes of housewives fighting and backstabbing inside their lavish mansions.
But the city isn't so keen on the idea of a private company filming its city -- and its citizens -- from the sky. This would be the first time the city had allowed such technology to be used for a film project. Graham Winick, who works for the city as a film and event production manager, told his staff in an email that the use of the drones "has abuse and endangerment potential." Assistant City Manager Max Sklar told the Herald: "We're giving it a lot of thought."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Use of devices could also cause conflict with the Federal Aviation Administration, which prohibits the operation of unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes.
The silver lining to this story: RHOM is definitely back for a third season. We've missed you, Mama Elsa!
Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.