New York, US – The Drones and Aerial Robotics conference – a weekend-long event highlighting innovations and uses in civilian drone technology – was a thing to behold.
A certain cognitive dissonance was necessary to ignore what many think of at the mention of the word “drone” (pilotless crafts used to kill thousands in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen). Instead, participants were urged to focus on how small, unarmed crafts carrying a camera and, perhaps, sensors could be used for educational and recreational purposes.
There were, of course, participants at the New York University conference who brought up the consequences of drone warfare, and others who questioned the legal issues surrounding the widespread use of civilian drones.
Woodrow Hartzog, an assistant law professor at Samford University in Alabama, was among those voices. He specialises in privacy, human-computer interactions and cyberlaw.
Al Jazeera: We’re at a conference where the focus seems to be on the whiz-bangery of this technology. What’s being lost in all this when it comes to privacy issues?
Woodrow Hartzog: There’s a fair amount of hand-wringing over drones and privacy, but I think in many instances it’s often dismissed because drones fly in public and they fly in public spaces and the law, as it’s traditionally been conceived, does not protect privacy when you’re walking out in the middle of the street. But I don’t think that’s entirely true….
- U.S. Drone Market Under Fire (thesleuthjournal.com)
- Civilian drones alarm rights groups (wikileaks-forum.com)
- Get Ready for the Invasion of the ‘Civilian-Owned Drone”‘ (thedronenews.com)
- FBI casually admits it uses drones to spy on citizens (dailydot.com)