Companies could use UAVs to gather private information
Paul Joseph Watson
December 3, 2013
Following the announcement of Amazon’s plan to deliver items using drones within five years, lawmakers responded by warning that the devices could be used to gather private information on customers and called for strict privacy safeguards.
Reacting to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ unveiling of prototype Octocopters that would deliver items weighing up to 2.3kg to customers within 30 minutes of an order being placed online, Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) cautioned that without careful regulations, “companies could use drones for information gathering whether that is taking a photograph of your patio furniture or recording the make and model of your car.”
His sentiments were echoed by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who said that the drones have “the potential to change everything,” and must be tightly controlled by law.
“Coloradans will accept this technology only if they are certain their privacy is protected and that Americans won’t be victims of surveillance or privacy abuse by private unmanned aerial system operators,” said Udall.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said that such rules must be in place “before our skies teem with commercial drones.”
The ACLU’s Chris Calabrese said that once Amazon launches its drone delivery program, other companies will quickly follow suit, creating a massive new threat to privacy. “If [drones] start to be everywhere, and you can use them for anything you want, you really do have eyes in the sky all the time,” he warned.
Many have speculated that the only way to deter theft of the drones or the products they are delivering to customers will be to attach high-tech surveillance cameras to the devices that would feed live video footage back to a central database.
“One solution that has been floated is installing cameras on the drones, but just the mention of eyes in the sky got America’s privacy-obsessed sections seething,” reports FirstPost.
The Octocopters set to be used by Amazon are designed to carry cameras weighing up to 5 pounds.
Meanwhile, experts have warned that the drones will inevitably crash into people and other objects because the technology is not yet sophisticated enough to equip the drones with spatial awareness that would prevent collisions.
Other concerns have centered around the drones being shot out of the sky or compromised by hackers.