While private use of drones is currently limited to hobbyists and individuals such as real estate agents who use them for aerial photos of properties, widespread commercial use is expected in the near future. Thousands of drones being used by operators with limited expertise will bring inherent dangers to the general public, both to their privacy and to their physical well-being.
What are the privacy concerns with drones?
Growing use of drones will allow invasion of privacy by individual, commercial, and governmental agents. Even some of the least expensive drones have high-definition cameras, while more advanced models can stream high definition video. Possible uses of drones for surveillance include:
Individuals. Private drones may be used to peer into bedroom windows, and post photos and videos online of residents in various states of undress. Numerous incidences of hidden cameras after the widespread availability of recording equipment points to the inevitability that drones will be used for the same nefarious purposes.
Businesses. Commercial entities may use drones to document the buying habits of individuals by filming private yards and driveways, or even inside windows, to create advertising that is crafted directly towards an individual consumer.
Government. Federal agencies already use drones to track suspected terrorists on other potential enemies of the state. However, there is no assurance that surveillance will not expand to include innocent American citizens, if it hasn't already begun.
How does expanded use of drones affect public safety?
Domestic use of drones is a relatively new technology, so there are not enough skilled operators to meet the growing demand. If commercial use is broadened through federal regulation, the use of drones will increase at a rapid pace, as each business attempts to stay ahead of the competition. This will lead to possible injuries and fatalities because of dangers in areas such as:
Drone malfunctions. Drones or the objects that they may be carrying can strike people on the ground through equipment malfunction or operator error. Some current models can travel very quickly, turning them into potentially lethal projectiles. This has led the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to adopt regulations limiting drone speeds and creating new standards for their use.
Interference with aircrafts. Drones are potentially dangerous to aircrafts such as low-flying helicopters. This poses a risk not only to the occupants of the aircraft, but also to people on the ground beneath the aircraft.
Distractions to drivers. The sudden appearance of a misguided drone may startle auto drivers to the point where accidents may occur. This can cause serious injury or death to the occupants of the vehicle or pedestrians.
A surge in drone activity will likely result in the creation of a new niche in civil lawsuits, and personal injury attorneys like Donald L Scales will need to keep up with ever-changing regulations to ensure that their clients are adequately compensated for drone mishaps.Share