Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has voiced his concerns over the use of civilian drones. In an interview with The Guardian, he states that civilian drones could potentially be used irresponsibly, and can compromise a person’s privacy. He also addresses concerns that these miniature drones can potentially be used as a terrorist weapon. He says that terrorists can strap weapons, like IEDs (improved explosive devices), to the drones.
He provides a scenario in which drones can invade a person’s privacy. He says,
“How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that can launch from their backyard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?”
He says that while its understandable why the government would want to use drones, it’s another thing when drones start becoming available to everyone. While drones have a very practical use, like India’s use of drones to combat rhinoceros poaching, it can also be used in a negative way if it falls into the wrong hands. One major concern is people using drones to stalk people and peep in on them.
While voicing his concerns that mini-drones can be used as weapons, he says,
“I’m not going to pass judgment on whether armies should exist, but I would prefer to not spread and democratize the ability to fight war to every single human being. It’s got to be regulated… It’s one thing for governments, who have some legitimacy in what they’re doing, but have other people doing it… it’s not going to happen.”
He stated back in January that Terrorists can equip drones with IEDs, and that “could result in conflict between civil and military drones.” He continued by saying,
“Or it could happen over the US-Mexico border. Maybe we’ll even see the world’s first drone strike against cyber-terrorists. That’s how seriously evil part of this could be.”
As drones become more advanced in technology, and as they become more affordable to the average consumer, privacy and safety concerns are on the rise. Back in early March, there was a scare when an unmanned drone was hovering around the JFK International Airport, just 200 feet away from one of the airplanes. The Government Accountability Office warned Congress that as drones became more commonplace, major issues will arise surrounding privacy, security, and safety.