Schmidt triggers drone alert: privacy matters

Google chairman Eric Schmidt believes more regulation is needed in the civilian drone market. The use of drones by law enforcement and enthusiasts is skyrocketing, but it is also raising new concerns about privacy, reports the BBC

“You’re having a dispute with your neighbour,” he told The Guardian in an interview printed on Saturday. “How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their backyard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?”

Bear in mind that Schmidt recently returned from a visit to North Korea, so he might be a bit too worried about Big Brother, but it is an interesting point. In addition to nosy neighbours, Schmidt also believes cheap mini drones could be used as a terrorist weapon. We’d add cross-border drug smuggling to his list. Also, celebrity hunting paparazzi drones. 

The civilian drone market is slowly but surely taking off. In addition to small quadcopter toys, manufacturers are coming up with bigger drones, with bigger payloads. With that in mind it is only a matter of time before someone fits a 4K camera and a nice telephoto lens to a civilian drone and starts spying on celebs, or shooting them with a coaxial assault rifle.  

The female is deadlier than the male. Bee drones are harmless and can’t sting, unlike Google droning on endlessly about things it knows nothing about.