Domestic Drones — Hi-Tech Wonders Or Nightmares In The Making

Did you see the 60 minutes segment last Sunday (06/22/14) on domestic drones called “Drones Over America”? It showed how commercially available drones are revolutionizing the way we work and play. Their use is increasing and soon they’ll become mainstream. Right now, anyone can purchase one on the internet and they are largely unregulated.

Many commercially available drones are equipped with sophisticated cameras and ingenious techies can add other capabilities as well, which brings up major privacy and security concerns.

Like all technologies, drones can be used for good or bad. It all depends on who’s operating them.

Photographers use drones to take breath-taking scenic pictures and videos, farmers use them to oversee their crops, and law enforcement use drones in their work. Of course, we all know the military uses them. In the near future, there will even be full size emergency drones flying victims to medical facilities.

With all of the current hype we also need to realize that there is a sinister side. Criminals can use drones to observe their “marks” and plan crimes; cyber-criminals can outfit drones with mini computers to hack into corporate (and personal) Wi-Fi signals and steal confidential information; drug lords can deliver narcotics to their “customers” and get paid without ever being present at the transaction; and terrorists can use drones for their dark purposes.

What about the privacy that we as citizens, are entitled to? How many of us leave the blinds open on the upper floor of our homes? As freely available drones with cameras become more mainstream, can any of us be sure that we’re not being watched? Never mind privacy, what about safety!

Before these issues become major problems, those responsible in Corporate America, Local and State Governments, and Washington D.C. must get together and figure out how to protect us without stifling innovation, technological advancement, and entrepreneurship. This means elected officials must understand today’s technology, the good it does and how it can be misused, and create laws to protect us from abuse. It is vital that law enforcement have the ability to identify drone operators so they can track down those who use them to violate the law.

Now, as a reader of our blog, tie this latest report to our past articles on cyber-crime, the Internet of Things (IoT), criminal use of social media, etc. and you’ll see that as technology advances there are real important privacy and safety concerns on the horizon that must be addressed quickly.

We all must be aware of how the technology landscape is changing, appreciate the good that it does, but fully understand the implications of what we as a society, are creating.

Technology touches everyone. Stay informed and when necessary, voice your opinion.

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