The price, feature set and reliability of drones for small businesses and hobbyists continues to come down. This short piece by Matthew Wall at the BBC tells a tale of business success as the drone manufacturers and their related industries (flight control software, 3D cameras etc) see excellent opportunities for growth in oil rig inspection, search and rescue, courier services and so on.
An issue raised is that of privacy. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office states that, “It would become a major concern for us if organisations were using these things to record people without giving notice”.
For me it’s not just the organisations who might be looking in places that we believe they shouldn’t. I’m assuming (tongue firmly in cheek) that the NSA hasn’t persuaded the manufacturers to give them backdoor access to drone command, control and communication systems. You know the kind of thing, they don’t want to know who you looking at just where your drone took of from, where it went and what time it was gone for. We could call it traffic analysis but I’m sure the expression has been sequestered.
The idea that neighbours can use such devices to overfly our gardens or hover outside a bedroom or bathroom window should give us a brief pause for thought. If countries are free to control their airspace, scrambling Typhoon or F-16 aircraft when a potential threat arises, then we could ask if individuals are free to do the same in the airspace over their property.
One thing is sure, a catapult and a marble are still cheaper than a tooled-up quadicopter drone.
But would that be legal?