It’s the end of privacy as we know it!


I have become a bit hesitant to tell people that I work with drones, despite the fact that I love working with this wonderful new technology. Almost every time I tell someone they say, “Oh, those are used for spying, right?” and I have to resist the urge to say something snarky about how unfounded that notion of unmanned technology is.

My understanding is that the majority of people have unrealistic expectations about privacy to begin with. Did you know that it’s legal for a person to photograph another person in their own home without their consent, and then sell those photos in a public gallery? Most people don’t know that, as evidenced by the man who is now facing felony destruction of property charges for shooting his neighbor’s drone down.

It is important to know the boundaries of privacy these days, and it isn’t necessarily what feels right anymore. What the gentleman who shot down that drone didn’t know; you don’t own all the sky over your property, (otherwise how would commercial airlines operate?), the drone cost over $1000, and by going out in his backyard he had significantly reduced expectations of privacy. Unfortunately, that combination will probably not end up in his favor.

If people were to make a concentrated, deliberate effort to change these problematic privacy laws, would targeting drone technology really be the best way to go about it? Wouldn’t it be better to establish a baseline for privacy, regardless of the technology? Drones are hardly the primary perpetrators of privacy violation, in the era of data breaches. From the FBI to Target to Ashley Madison, anywhere you can put personal information someone can take it and distribute it elsewhere. While I can sympathize with the momentary surprise of seeing a drone overhead, I still think I would prefer that to having my identity stolen.

As if it’s not bad enough that hackers will steal your information, when companies like Facebook “help” a social movement by facilitating thousands of people putting a rainbow filter over their profile picture the are really studying you as social trend data. You are nothing but a data commodity to these people, and they own your activity to whatever extent it benefits them.Did you even consent to being such a hot commodity?

While there is still something to be said for respecting physical privacy, the more serious privacy concern should be about data aggregation that is tethered to our identity. Practically, there isn’t really a lot you can do with a photo except look at it, which isn’t that damaging; it wont ruin your credit or reveal your web history. In the age of computer technology infiltrating every aspect of life, people need to reshape the way they think about privacy.

Between the amount of information that is constantly being gathered and the power of computing programs these days, I would think people would be more worried that their personal information, habits and preferences are being tracked, analyzed, and monetized, because it seems like there is a new data breach in the news every day. People with drones hardly seem like much of a privacy concern in comparison, right?