In short, I looked up at the sky and saw the storm brewing. One thing I did not predict, however, was the danger to the drones themselves.
The city of Seattle, where I live, just ended its modest drone program over citizen protests, even though the drones could only stay up in the air for 15 minutes and were intended to support emergency response. The city of Charlottesville, Virginia, issued a moratorium on the use of drones within city limits. And this is nothing compared to what may happen in 2015 when the FAA paves the way for the use of drones by private parties.
I do not blame opponents of drones. They raise legitimate concerns that have gone largely unaddressed. The FAA and others should have taken privacy seriously from the beginning. But I do worry that we are missing out on the transformative potential of drones.
What are drones but flying smartphones, one app away from indispensable? We could see drones accompanying early morning joggers, taking sport, wildlife, and other photography to a new level, or mapping out hard-to-reach geographic terrain. The possibilities, as Vivek Wadhwa recently wrote, are endless.
Which is why I would rather see an end to bad privacy law than an end to drones.
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