Are Drones Maybe Bad News?

Does the increasing numbers of drones represent a threat to our privacy and safety? Should drone ownership and the use of drones be better regulated?

drone-spy-featureI wrote an article a while back about drones called (Super Drone! Are They Going Too Far?), in which I talked about the potential for drones to invade our privacy – seeing how they can go almost anywhere and video just about anything. Since then we’ve seen the largest Christmas sale of drones ever and the FAA now requires us to register them if we want to own one. This may make you think that all is good, but if you have been paying attention you might also see a scenario where this could turn out to be bad news in terms of privacy and safety.

With drones being so readily available to anyone, even my 10-year-old son, it’s quite likely these could be the next devices that our not so friendly terrorists use on us. Now, you are probably thinking, ‘Jason you are getting way too paranoid.’  And yes, there may be an element of truth in that, but I also think it is very important to point out these concerns so we can all be more aware and possibly a little safer. Someone has to be the paranoid or we may never consider the potentially ugly side of these new technologies. I’ll explain why I have these concerns and then you can make up your own mind.

Example 1:

We will start with a little event that happened in December 2015. Professional skier Marcel Hircher was just minding his own business in a skiing event when all the sudden the sky started falling – a drone fell right behind him, it was lucky for him that he wasn’t hit. This situation shows that with more and more of these drones flying around the more chances your day might turn out to be a bad one or even possibly your last.

Example 2:

Then there was the incident in February 2016 where a man crashed his drone into the 40th floor of the Empire State Building in downtown New York.

Are Drones Just Bad News pic 2

This one I think worries me even more than something falling out of the sky. If a drone can be so easily flown in downtown New York, how difficult would it be to simply strap an explosive device to it? Now we have a very easily accessible and adaptable device for someone to perpetrate a bad deed.

Example 3:

Drones are taking some amazing pictures in places where most of us would have a hard time getting to. As an example, in the video below this person flies his drone over Apple’s new Spaceship Campus currently under construction.

The reason I bring this one up is to emphasize how much easier spying on someone or something has become with the drone technology. Yes, the military has spying down to a science; but now your everyday Peeping Tom, business man, or nut job can easily afford to do it too. Business, Military and other entities are having a harder time hiding their secret projects or just normal secrets. When you can fly over almost any environment, that “No Trespassing” sign doesn’t mean anywhere as much as it used to. There is one upside to this, we can take some amazing pictures from angles that were not possible before without putting our lives in danger. See, I do appreciate the good side.

Example 4:

The last one I want to highlight is the near misses with our airplanes. This has become a major concern around the world over the past few years. With so many more drones being purchased the skies are growing more and more crowded. This is a very difficult thing for any government to regulate and monitor. The FAA does have rules but do they go far enough; if your unmanned drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs and less than 55 lbs you must register online. Anything over that you must register using the Aircraft Registry process – more details are available here UAS Registration. I haven’t heard of a drone hitting a plane yet, or vice versa, but with the increasing numbers of drones in the sky, I have little doubt it will happen in time.

Are Drone Bad News Pic 4

In my opinion, these examples are just the tip of the iceberg. We need to take a step back and slow down. The chase for the almighty dollar too often overrides the potentially negative effects this type of new technology can have on society. And, if history is anything to go by, it usually takes a catastrophic event before someone finally does anything about it.

What do you think?


6 thoughts on “Are Drones Maybe Bad News?”

  1. What happened with that drone which fell behind the skiier? Did they get sued or charged with a crime? I can’t imagine that it is legal to have drones in the air during those events, there are too many chances for accidents or injuries.

    1. Good question Sara not sure what happened to the person flying the drone that almost hit the skier.I did some research and it is owned by a Infront Sports and Media group who had some malfunction with the drone during the event. Still not sure if they where sued for it but there is no word that any charges where brought up. No one was hurt which is the important thing.

  2. I got a “Drone” about 18 months ago, and I prefer to call it a quadcopter. I do model flying, gliders mainly. I love the quadcopter, certainly not for spying!
    BUT, as usual, laws and legislation are developed for the idiots amongst us and are (I would hope) for the minority. Who think its fine to fly over a crowd, or towards full size aircraft. Membership of a model flying organisation should be compulsory (BMFA)

    Also remember, it is ALWAYS the bad side that gets reported and complained about, very rarely the good side!

    I think the skiing one, was a broadcaster, but not certain. Professional quadcopters are usually hexcopters, where there are 6 motors/ propellers. The reason for this is that they can carry more expensive payload and can cope with a motor failure without crashing.

    1. Yes you are correct we seem to have to put warning labels and everything for those few idiots. It is true that the Media does focus on the bad side of things and I’m guilty of that sometimes too (this article). With your experience you probably know most of the bad and good of these devices and I’m glad that you are sharing your view on this.

      You are right that the Drone that was used in the skiers incident was own by a Sports media network. They said that the rule was they had to fly outside the racetrack and follow the racer from 15-meter distance. There thinking that the frequency of the drone was interfered with which caused the pilot to follow procedure to fly drone close to ground and then release it to crash. After this the International Ski Federation banned camera drones from all its events.

  3. of course they are an invasion to privacy but most people have given it up when the patriot act was signed. And these are the same folks who give away any privacy using any social media that is out there.

    What’s to be done? Nothing. The genie has escape from the bottle and there is no putting him back.

    I am waiting for the anti-drone to become available. One that has rockets or even explosives attached to it to take out drones. Hey, that’s an idea – a drone equip with some type of radio interference that can cause one to crash. Or a kamikaze drone, LOL, that would be fun. I can see drones with red meatballs on the side with Japanese writing.

    Hey, thanks for the article.

  4. You are welcome roo… Yep that genie was released many years ago and I do not see it going back in the bottle unless we get a massive solar flare that knocks everything out. You know I saw a new device which looked like a bazooka that shoots a net out to catch the drone. I guess if they can do that they can attach something to a drone to catch drones 🙂 Good Idea roo to catch a drone use a drone.

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