The use of drones in America has started to whirl around the news as law enforcement agencies and hobbyists are building and buying these unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, for surveillance, or in some cases, just for fun.
Around 150 journalists, coders and techno enthusiasts gathered at the headquarters of San Francisco startup Storify to discuss the prospect of what’s being referred to as “drone journalism”.
The editor of Wired magainze, Chris Anderson, was one of the speakers.
These drones are not the Predators you heard about in the news that our military uses to bomb our enemies.
No, these devices are more like remote control airplanes and helicopters for adults. They’re armed with advanced surveillance like high quality cameras, gyroscopes and a variety of sensors. Law enforcement agencies have used these eyes in the sky to track down marijuana growers.
News organizations have toyed with the idea of using them to document dangerous events like natural disasters or protests like the Occupy movement.
As the domestic use of this technology outpaces the laws in place, ethical questions start to arise. Who’s allowed to fly these things? Can anybody get a permit? What happens if one crashes? Who’s using them now?