Google CEO Eric Schmidt wants to limit the domestic use of drones by civilians, citing privacy and security concerns.

The lack of regulation surrounding the technology is disconcerting, he said. At the moment, there is nothing stopping quarreling neighbors, rival gangs or private adversaries from flying cameras or bombs into one another’s homes and offices.

Of course, people who really want to spy on others or bump them off will find a way around regulations. But setting such rules early in the technology’s life would set a precedent against their abuse among the majority law-abiding population. If such regulations aren’t established, would drone control become the same interminable issue gun control is today?

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


“You’re having a dispute with your neighbour,” [Schmidt] told The Guardian in an interview printed on Saturday.

“How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their backyard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?”

Warning of mini-drones’ potential as a terrorist weapon, he said: “I’m not going to pass judgment on whether armies should exist, but I would prefer to not spread and democratise 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.”

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