Are you ready for armies of drones in your skies? If not armies, how many drones would be acceptable to you? What should be the rules for these drones? Will they be allowed to hover a video camera over your back yard? How many times are you willing to be analysed by a drone in the average day? How close are they allowed to fly to you and your family?
Will they only have simple cameras? Is it okay if they are infrared cameras that can see heat patterns? How about future technologies to sniff for drugs and other banned substances? Will they be allowed to access your RFID passports and drivers licenses? Will they have directional microphones?
What if the government changes? Will future governments be as benevolent as they are today? What would a less benevolent government do if they had all of this whiz-bang technology? Have you ever watched Brazil or 1984? How about London 2012?
Let me share a story with you. About Holland during WWII. The Dutch pay amazing attention to the details in their bureaucracy- they are quite Germanic that way. Their old ID cards identified what religion people were. When the Germans moved into the Netherlands (and numbers of Dutchmen colluded) they took advantage of this efficiency and quickly gathered-up people of a few religious/ethnic backgrounds.
When the Dutch created the technology for issuing identification cards it was never in their minds they would use it to wreak terror. It was only after WWII that they began to think that way. So, they made changes to the system to make it more safe in the future. Many Dutch people still seem uncomfortable with this part of their past.
Put this into the context of drones for a moment. How many bad things could come of them in a more oppressive society? What if the day came when a judge ordered a drone to be dispatched to a pregnant woman so that she doesn’t abort a baby?
What would Sarah Palin do?
The Halton Region Force has started using drones to seek-out marijuana fields. They are saying it helps them located it in places like the centre of cornfields. Who knows, perhaps they’ll use them to solve the mystery of crop circles too? What if Monsanto is allowed to use them to monitor farmer’s use of licensed seeds?
It appears that Vancouver (and possibly Toronto) has made the mistake of deploying an RFID transit pass without having privacy guidelines (I’m waiting for confirmation on this). Transit passes aren’t the biggest threat to our privacy- but drones most certainly are.
It’s hard to say we don’t accept infrared cameras flying over our homes if the government has already bought them. If there’s a time to decide on privacy guidelines- the time is now. Let’s not wait until it’s too late to make changes…