One wonders what Eric Schmidt’s opinion is of the Google staff that we know using the technology. Perhaps the technology is just dandy in their hands?  The issue of regulation does need to be addressed in the USA. As ever though the shuffling of chairs and meetings to organize meetings seem to top of the agenda for the FAA.

The BBC reports:- The influential head of Google, Eric Schmidt, has called for civilian drone technology to be regulated, warning about privacy and security concerns. Cheap miniature versions of the unmanned aircraft used by militaries could fall into the wrong hands, he told the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

Quarrelling neighbours, he suggested, might end up buzzing each other with private surveillance drones. He also warned of the risk of terrorists using the new technology. Mr Schmidt is believed to have close relations with US President Barack Obama, whom he advises on matters of science and technology.

“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?”

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  • Google advising on threats to privacy, now that's rich.

  • Really disappoints me this, particularly from google who drive a car around and fly planes taking pictures of everything.

    Spying is illegal, and if that was your intention then climb a tree with an SLR. Cheaper, easier and better quality than a UAV.

  • It's interesting reading concerning his statement over on slashdot..

  • Apparently he's suffering from "rich people issues" and "keep consumers out of my next revenue stream-itis"

    Existing stalking/harassment laws generally cover his supposed concerns. If you can't set up a camcorder in your yard to spy on the neighbors without the police getting involved, same goes for drones.

  • Hasn't Google been in trouble recently for invasions or privacy regarding collecting WIFI data while driving their cars around with camera's on board looking into everyone's property? I fly FPV whenever I can and would never give it up as a result of some law being passed that was influenced by idiots like this.

  • Tim Green: I think you're spot on, Google's afraid to loose money they've invested, drones will eventually lead to open and free version of maps!

  • Moderator

    Quite amazing its the lead story on my local radio station in South Africa, he might be making problems elsewhere! 

  • I think we should put him up for the "Hypocrite of the Year" Award.

    At the very least the all time "Fickle Finger of Fate" award.

  • Isn't Eric Schmidt the same (now uncloseted) Luddite clown who went nattering about in North Korea earlier this year, against the wishes of the US State Department? So he thinks only governments should have drones, but it's OK for him to waltz cluelessly (drone-like...) into an extremely delicate and dangerous situation that the best diplomats of just about every major government in the world have been concerned with for decades? (One wonders how much the present situation there might have been exacerbated by his visit, notwithstanding the immediately following even more ludicrous Dennis Rodman sojourn). And is this the same Eric Schmidt who publishes (and profits from the publication), for anyone to see, an aerial photograph taken from directly overhead of my home and property, which is not visible from any public spot on land? (Not that I mind that in itself but the hypocrisy is astonishing). Is this the same guy who has sent little cars bearing giant cameras down every street in America? Who tries to get your cell number every time you check your mail on his klunky email service? Who, according to  Microsoft's current major advertising campaign, reads your mail?   Wow ...  

  • It's all sensationalist claptrap reporting though. It is all regulated, it all comes under (UK) CAA law. There are plenty of people selling 'drones' it is legal to do so, and any one can buy one: It's then up to you to comply with CAA law (or FAA in USA) when flying in controlled areas, or near buildings (within 150m) or people (within 50m).

    If you want to fly your drone over your neighbors house all day, you'll be breaking several CAA laws (assuming you don't have CAA permission, which is unlikely you'll get without a sound reason), and if found out, most likely you'll end up with a fat fine, or prison.

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