Do We Need a Privacy Policy to Protect Us From Drones?

The latest advances in technology have resulted in new privacy issues, and one of them is closely related to drones. Since the drone policy that was proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t seem to deal with the question of privacy, activists are arguing against it.

I find this argument quite interesting, and not only because I’m into drones and aerial photography. This is why I’d like to give an overview of the debate and to ask you what you think about it. I’ll start by explaining the current policy and move on to the arguments for and against it.

The current drone policy

There aren’t a lot of restrictions, that’s for sure. Drones can be equipped with facial recognition software and license plate scanners. They can track multiple targets at once and operate at heights and distances that make them very hard to detect. As a result, using drones takes surveillance to a whole other level.

The arguments against privacy policy

There are people who think that there’s no need for a privacy policy at all. Their main argument is the fact that we already have laws covering every possible antisocial behavior and that the appearance of drones hasn’t changed a thing.

What people fear most is someone stalking them and trespassing on their property, but those are all acts that are already punishable by law. I particularly liked the argument that it doesn’t really matter whether a camera is on a drone or a balloon – it’s breaking the law either way.

The arguments for privacy policy

Apart from those who are fine with the drone policy as it is, there are people who are appalled by the lack of restrictions.

Many agree that the new privacy policy shouldn’t be drone-specific, that is, that drones are not the only issue. And although there are laws restricting information dissemination by different agencies, advocates of privacy policy still believe that we’re far from being protected by the law.

Since drones are much better equipped for surveillance than any of the other gadgets, the government should make sure that they have restrictions. The only way to do that is to incorporate a registry: require that all drone users identify themselves and register the type of technology they’re using. After all, if we thought it was necessary to register airplane pilots, why not register drone operators as well.

It seems that both sides think privacy is important. The only difference is that privacy policy advocates believe that the existing laws aren’t enough to protect us from information abuse. What do you think?