Could New Flying Robots Create Privacy Issues?
Surveillance drones are expected to be big business in the coming years, for government and private use.
A story on NPR.org recently reported on the growing market for “flying robots, controlled by your phone.” Marketed as a toy, this tiny, drone-like flying machine is equipped with a camera that records the world below. Not only is it equipped with a camera, it also has a video recorder. And the price for this "toy" — just $300.
According to the story on NPR.org, the ad for this French-manufactured toy shows it being controlled by a guy on a Paris rooftop. He first sends it down to take a look at a little boy, a cute girl, a couple dancing and then up five or six stories to gaze at a church gargoyle. Spying over a privacy fence or in a neighbor’s window shouldn't be too far a stretch for this handy little gadget.
Another story recently by Fox News reports on a plan by the government to expand its use of mini-drones within the U.S., mainly for police and first responders. So far, 327 licenses have reportedly been issued and that number is expected to reach 10,000 by 2017 and up to 30,000 by 2020. According to Fox News, an executive for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems said these vehicles are a lot more affordable than many of the manned assets out there. They would be invaluable in such missions as finding a lost child or for monitoring traffic.
What do you think about the use of video surveillance from the sky in the hands of so many people? A useful tool for the government and just fun for the general population? Or too much of an invasion of privacy and the potential for criminal behavior in the hands of the wrong people?