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Small Drones Should Be Regulated Says Google Chief

surveillance drone

The availability of the technology, together with the resources to easily create a small drone can be quickly found on the Internet and even local tech shops. There are definitely plenty of “do-it-yourself” guides over the Internet nowadays that guarantee a working model. Thus, small drones are quickly becoming very common in the households of independent developers and hobbyists. Yesterday, I even featured some MIT students who are seeking funding to make their own weaponized drone that is capable of launching its own version of Hellfire Missiles.

Due to the uncontrollable production of small drones by independent developers, Google Chief Eric Schmidt is calling for the government to come up with rules that could regulate the proliferation of such machines. According to a BBC News report, the head of the company that found itself on the receiving end of privacy complaints during the past cited that the unregulated creation and use of small drones could compromise the privacy and even the security of the American community.

Based on the BBC report, Schmidt used quarrelling neighbors using drones to blast each other as an extreme example. Then, he added that the wide sharing of small drone technology could also lead the schematics into the wrong hands which will utilize it for terrorist activities.

I find it very ironic for Schmidt to lecture about privacy concerns when they were known in the past to have broken them. Currently, they are under fire too for their upcoming Google Glass due to the potential privacy issues that may arise out of it. But despite Google’s present position in the public, I somehow agree with its chief on the subject of unregulated drones.

Having weaponized drones flying just about anywhere will enable someone to easily carry out assassination without the big risk of getting caught. In addition, small drones for surveillance can be used to carry out illicit activities like peeping, eavesdropping and gathering sensitive information that could lead to blackmail, embarrassment to the aggrieved party, leakage of sensitive business information and plenty of others. Thus, drone regulation can lessen its chances of being used in unlawful activities.

Drones in Good Light

Let me clear out though that having small drones flying around are not totally bad. Well, that is if these kinds of machines are controlled and used responsibly and sensibly. Aside from its benefits in the military, drones have been widely used to study animal behavior from an aerial view, monitor surroundings, prevent criminal activities and for other uses beneficial to the community. So again, small drones are not bad; it just depends on the person controlling or programming them.

The Government’s Action

BBC said that the Federal Aviation Administration of America is presently exploring how commercial small drones and other unmanned aircraft systems can be safely introduced into the U.S. airspace.

Personally, it would be great also if local or State legislators can start coming up with laws that could regulate the production and use of small drones. This is to ensure that these kinds of machines will not easily fall into the wrong parties who will utilize it for unlawful purposes.

Source: BBC News

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  3. You have a good point. I myself have R/C collection including a chopper. However, the drones Schmidt is pointing out are much different than the one you are playing with.

    Drones are no longer just being developed for a hobby or surveillance, people are now starting to weaponize it. Something that a mere privacy law cannot entirely cover. Even legislators are debating over it and government agencies do not know how to handle it because it actually falls in the gray area.

  4. I think regulation is a stupid unnecessary response, we already have privacy laws! If your neighbor was invading your privacy, with or without a “drone”, you can call the police right now because he’s already breaking the law. Just because there’s new technology you don’t need to make new laws when the potential problems are already covered by existing laws.

    I fly FPV R/C models (currently a tricopter) and do so for a reason that wasn’t mentioned in the article: It’s fun! I also find it safer than flying R/C via line-of-sight as I can see exactly where I am and where I’m going.
    Flying FPV R/C is beautiful and for me it’s the closest thing to really flying I can afford.

    ~GM

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