Google’s Eric Schmidt Wants Regulations for Civilian Drone Technology

We don’t talk much about drones around here, but it’s certainly worth mentioning when Google chairman Eric Schmidt takes on the topic. In an interview with the Guardian (which was picked up by the BBC), Schmidt spoke about the need for regulation regarding civilian drone technology.

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

He has a point about the cloying and rather disturbing invasion of privacy that inexpensive drones can bring. However, he appears to be more concerned about terrorist attacks and other targeted, impersonal violence than simply nosy neighbors. While acknowledging that military uses are a separate issue, he said, “I would prefer to not spread and democratize the ability to fight war to every single human being.”

India drone
Indian law enforcement tracks poachers with drones (Image credit: AP)

There are surely legitimate uses for civilian drone technology--the BBC points to Indian law enforcement using drones to surveil poachers in the state of Assam--but Schmidt is advocating regulations that prevent drone use from becoming too easy, too common, and too dangerous for the general public.