Drones and Privacy

untitledThe popularity of drones is undeniable; even legal shows are discussing the topic. Just last week in an episode of the popular show The Good Wife, Alicia Florrick argued a case on behalf of her client defending his right to privacy against drone invasions. Both representatives, the plaintiff, and defendant argued their cases vigorously turning to the law to defend their stance by exploring technicalities including height of the drone, location of the drone, purpose of the drone being used and so on.

As fascinating as technology is, it does have its downfalls including complicating legislation. Currently, there aren’t many Canadian laws dictating the use of drones and robots but this will likely change in the near future since technology seems to be evolving every day. Drone usage is far more regulated in the United States than in Canada. Canada has chosen to focus more on safety thus far, rather than privacy.

The Windsor school of law is the first to open its arms to a course about the legalities revolving around drones and robots. Robots have become such a large part of our lives we rarely question if our privacy is being breached. We are used to being watched while in public through CCTV’s in stores but drones flying over your backyard while your children are playing maybe more troubling. Robots unlike most technology, interact with their environment and have a physical impact.

Robots and drones can collect information from their surroundings to draw conclusions without our knowledge. For instance, Canadians are moving towards autonomous self-driven vehicles. These vehicles will detect the driver’s surroundings and speed which allows the driver to essentially be absent from the equation.

Conversely, we can be unaware of how this information is being used and for what purpose. For illustration consider a children’s toys that maybe collecting information for a marketing company without the purchaser’s knowledge. It may be monitoring the child’s preferences and choices to build specific types of toys for children. Collection of such information may seem harmless on the surface but it is still a breach of privacy.  Realtors for instance, find it useful to use drones to capture the condition of a home for potential foreign investors but at the wrong angle can easily look into a neighbour’s home without their knowledge.

While some individuals are excited by the use of robots in our daily lives while others worry about the implications of such technology. What are your thoughts?

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Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Points of Discussion:

  1. How are drones regulated in your country?
  2. What laws do you think should be put in place?
  3. Do you think drones are a threat or a step towards progress?
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