As drone technology becomes cheaper and more powerful, more people will have access to this new surveillance tool to spy on friends, family, neighbors or anyone else.
This powerful new consumer and business technology is opening up a Pandora’s box of legal, privacy and safety issues for people.
It seems there is a new bizarre drone story almost every day in the news.
The following is just a small list of the drone news stories that have appeared within the past week alone:
- Police seize drone spying on Wimbledon games
- Illegal 4 foot drone grounded planes fighting a forest fire in California
- New laser developed to attack rogue drones
- Rent-A-Drone service launches
- Drone crashes into the wing of a commercial jet
- Man acquitted in drone surveillance case
- Tourists crash drone into cathedral while using it to take selfie pictures in Milan, Italy
- Judge orders man to pay damages for shooting down neighbor’s spy drone
In the same week that these news stories were reported consumer drone makers DJI and Parrot announced the release of cheaper and better surveillance drones that can fly for longer periods of time and capture better arial photos and video of their surroundings.
It seems that, for better or worse, drone use has become the wild wild west of technology and these strange drone stories are only going to become more common as more companies offer cheaper and better drones as everyday consumer products.
There is no arguing that drones have a lot of positive uses.
Unmanned Arial Vehicles ( drones ) were used to search for missing people after the Nepal earthquake. It is likely that drones could soon be used to search for missing persons, since they can quickly and easily scan large amounts of territory faster than people on foot.
It is probably just a matter of time before someone uses a drone to catch a cheating spouse; track their children’s movements or spy on a nanny or babysitter.
In addition, drones seem to be a perfect tool for private investigators, who could use them to track people in areas and across boundaries that would be difficult for an individual person.
However, on the flip side, drones could be used by stalkers to follow their targets around.
Criminals could use drones to monitor when people leave their homes to find out the best time to break in.
In addition, what goes up must come down and sometimes what comes down is completely unplanned.
People make mistakes and technology often fails which means that more and more drones will be crashing into houses, office buildings, people, vehicles and airplanes. There will be injuries and even casualties from the widespread use of this flying technology.
There is also the real fear that “suicide drones”, armed with explosives, could be used by terrorists to cause public deaths and chaos in numerous unpredictable, unimaginable and unmanageable ways.
Furthermore, hackers could commandeer delivery drones to steal not just the cargo but also the drone itself.
Unfortunately, although the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established regulatory guidelines for the use of drones, it appears to be another example of technology outpacing the laws to regulate it.
At least for now, the wild wild west environment of drone use is something that people will have to get used to.