In the wake of News Corp’s foundation-shaking phone hacking trial, the thought of Rupert Murdoch at the helm of his own spy drone is enough to make his critics break out in a sweat.
But the 83-year-old media titan has taken to the sky like a pro, publishing a picture of his maiden flight on his personal social media account.
“Trying out my new drone,” the Melbourne-born executive chairman of News Corp boasted.
The photograph was taken while Murdoch was attending a digital technology conference, WSJD Live, in Laguna Beach, California.
The conference was hosted by one of Murdoch’s newspapers, the New York-based Wall Street Journal.
The conference has drawn a who’s who of the technology world, with speakers including Apple chief executive Tim Cook, former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer, Alibaba chief Jack Ma and director James Cameron.
Posting the photograph to social media provoked a mixed reaction, much of it aimed either at News Corp’s poor record of respecting privacy, or at the current debate in the US about the use of such remotely-piloted aerial drones by media outlets.
Of particular concern is the fact that many drones, including amateur devices which can be bought in stores and controlled by iPhones and iPads, are equipped with cameras.
In the photograph, Murdoch is seen piloting a “quadcopter” drone, which is equipped with four rotors.
In September, America’s airspace management body, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reversed its ban on the commercial use of drones.