We made our way to U.C. Berkley Law Schools Boalt Hall for a lunchtime talk about Drones. (Announcement below)
The usual cast of folks one would envision from Berkley representing all walks of life and the spectrum of age groups. I kept thinking they were going to cue up the Darth Vader music for my introduction, but that did not happen. I believe the crowd thought they were going to get a guy who made excuses for killer drone assassinations. Possibly even a zealot espousing the notion that we as a society should just be willing to accept privacy rights violations from the police as we march gleefully forward into a DoD inspired dystopian police state.
They were not getting that from me. I was talking about feeding a hungry world and applying the privacy laws already on the books to this technology. Some tried to argue with the industry statements, and there was even some outward hostility towards AUVSI. (Drone lobby group) I told them from the start that no subject was off limits and that I would be willing to answer their questions to the best of my ability.
First off, I told them that I never was a proponent of the weaponized UAS idea. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that people are going to have apprehension when companies start arming machines. (Well, that is what most Scifi fans believe anyway.) Secondly, I believe the first responders have put their foot in it as they are ham-fistedly secretive about what they would like to do.
Case in point…
Alameda County sheriffs department or even the DHS SAR demonstration. I contend that we need to make the public a part of the conversation that pertains to them. When they heard that I had suggested to the FAA folks that ACLU, EFF or some other public privacy interest group should be on the current UAS ARC they started to soften. I followed up with there should be daylight or public involvement in the “public” rulemaking process. They seemed surprised that someone from within the industry believes that the public deserves to be in on the rule making process. The notion is not just innovative it makes sense. Well, except to the industry, FAA administration and anyone else pushing the DoD vendor agenda.
In the end, I gave some industry insights about how the technology was co-opted by the DoD vendors and that some of these systems were already plowshares that got beat into swords. They had no idea that this was the case or that thousands of their friends and neighbours have been flying them around (working) for years. No one in the room had issues with Ag, SAR or science. Only apprehension was the asymmetrical warfare overlay and big brother applications.
Listen to the podcast…
Talk about it on Facebook
Follow the fun on Twitter