Seeing Drones as Opportunity Rather Than Privacy Threat

September 16, 2015

For a while, it has seemed that privacy fears about unmanned aircraft – commonly referred to as drones – might lead to their downfall, writes Alan McQuinn in the Sacramento Bee. The potential benefits of drones are vast, from speedy package deliveries to cost-effective and safe power line or pipeline inspections. But the lively debate over how to integrate this technology into U.S. airspace has been punctuated by events in which drones have been used in questionable ways, including incidents in which they have hovered over people’s property or taken pictures of sunbathers. Some consumer-privacy advocates and lawmakers panicked and rushed to create a legislative solution. Yet while it is certainly important to address salient privacy concerns, policymakers should not let hypothetical fears drive the conversation in ways that unjustly limit commercial uses of drones.