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An Open Letter To Google Chairman Eric Schmidt On Drones

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the on-the-other-hand dept.

Government 171

savuporo writes "A DC Area Drone User Group has posted an open letter in response to recent comments by Eric Schmidt about banning drones from private use. The closing section reads: 'Personally owned flying robots today have the power to change the balance of power between individuals and large bureaucracies in much the same way the Internet did in the past. And just as the military researchers who developed GPS for guiding munitions could never have imagined their technology would be used in the future to help people conduct health surveys in the world's poorest countries or help people find dates in the world's richest, there is a whole world of socially positive and banal applications for drones that are yet to be discovered. We should embrace this chance that technology provides instead of strangling these opportunities in their infancy. Our hope is that you and the rest of Google's leadership will embrace this pro-technology agenda in the future rather than seeking to stifle it. We would welcome the opportunity to speak further with you about this topic.'"

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171 comments

Also (1)

mozumder (178398) | about a year ago | (#43543251)

drones are GREAT for law-enforcement purposes.

They can stay up much longer than a helicopter can!

Cows (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543261)

Good grief, fuck Google. Who care's what Schmit thinks?

Re:Cows (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43543475)

We have to be careful. Considering the types of people that win elections, this guy could become president some day.

Re:Cows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543555)

Charismatic people win elections. Schmidt has all the appeal of a rancid fish.

Re:Cows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543573)

Yeah... and George Bush was a big stupid cuddly teddy bear!

Re:Cows (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#43543691)

Actually, that describes him pretty accurately...

Re:Cows (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#43543837)

Richard Nixon won two elections, Mitt Romney wasn't too far away, and Newt Gingrich was doing okay in the primaries for a while. Schmidt being president isn't all that outlandish.

Re:Cows (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43544051)

He won't listen anyway. He made that statement because it was in his commercial interests to disallow other mapping companies/organisations from collecting detailed imagery, not because it's what he genuinely thought was right. No amount of open letters will make him change his mind.

Re:Cows (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#43544469)

Yeah, really! This is no different than Bono giving his opinion to G.W.Bush on how to fix the U.S.
If Eric Schmidt is afraid of clowns, is Congress going to jump up and ban clowns so Eric Doesn't wet his pants in McDonalds?
Well Fuck Eric Schmidt and any and all celebrity legislation endorsements.
Coming Next: Secretary of State Charlie Sheen weighs in on the Mideast.

Re: Cows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544687)

All he does is drone on and on about this.

Useful as Surrogates (5, Interesting)

lubaciousd (912505) | about a year ago | (#43543265)

We're approaching a level of non-invasive brain-computer interface quality that could conceivably be used for controlling a drone. Combine that with smaller, cheaper drones(think UPenn quadrocopters), and you can give people halfway decent surrogate systems relatively soon.

Re:Useful as Surrogates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543549)

We're approaching a level of non-invasive brain-computer interface quality that could conceivably be used for controlling a drone. Combine that with smaller, cheaper drones(think UPenn quadrocopters), and you can give people halfway decent surrogate systems relatively soon.

I'm sure someone will pass a law to prevent it's use by anyone in the legislative branch as some form of "logical thought" device.

Re:Useful as Surrogates (1)

Tim Ward (514198) | about a year ago | (#43544361)

It needs to have feedback, though, so that the "pilot" dies if the drone crashes.

Otherwise it's a bit of an uneven playing field, no, with me up there in my little aeroplane and people flying drones into my path with no comeback if they screw up?

Re:Useful as Surrogates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544721)

I look forward to shooting down my neighbor's drone and his subsequent passing. Would that be murder or just helping my friend Eric Schmidt?

Goose meet Gander (5, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43543277)

So, if you make your fortune by collecting information about everything including what some folks would consider 'private', readily divulge the information to governments without notifying those the data was collected about, then have a problem when others begin collecting information that's publicly available, does that make you a fool or a hypocrite an elitist, or what? I'm having a problem classifying the degree to which Schmidt's foot is crammed down his own throat.

I really think we need to change the 2nd amendment to be "The Right to Bear Technology" (this includes cryptography).

Re: Goose meet Gander (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543291)

http://t.co/CMFWOi9RfB

Re: Goose meet Gander (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543367)

Do NOT visit the above link!

Re: Goose meet Gander (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543543)

Why not? It's funny as hell, and it contains more than a little truth.

Re: Goose meet Gander (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#43544961)

Because it's probably goatse.

Re:Goose meet Gander (4, Insightful)

b4upoo (166390) | about a year ago | (#43543303)

Private acts really are not done in places where they can be observed by others. This is a feelings vs. reason issue. For example a young girl in a string bikini may feel that her privacy has been violated when the wrong guy looks at her or someone snaps pics even though she is on a public beach. The reality is that if it is done withing public view it can not be private.

Re:Goose meet Gander (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543341)

Google maps has all sorts of imagery of areas "not in public view". Eric's a fucking hypocrite.

Re:Goose meet Gander (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543583)

1. The bikini girl maybe taking the sun on her backyard, where you may expect some reasonable privacy. 2. A private act, may consist of a sparse collection of public events.

Re:Goose meet Gander (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#43543591)

Private acts really are not done in places where they can be observed by others.

I completely disagree. The conversation at the next table at the restaurant may be within earshot of my table, and I may overhear a few things. But it is still a "semi-private conversation". The patrons at the next table over implicitly accept that their conversation is not "completely private" in a setting like that.

But that doesn't amount to implicit acceptance that I pull up a chair and start taking notes, nor does it amount to implicit acceptance that I hide a microphone in the candle to record everything they say and stream it to youtube.

The reality is that if it is done withing public view it can not be private.

Polite society dictates that even though I can hear things not intended for my ears that I don't put them on the internet. The law isn't so subtle as polite society, but that doesn't mean we should accept that anything not actually illegal is perfectly fine.

Re:Goose meet Gander (5, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | about a year ago | (#43543663)

The reality is that if it is done withing public view it can not be private.

Wrong. Behaviour and intent matters enormously.

For example, say the girl in the bikini is followed the whole day, everywhere she goes, by some guy who always stands a foot next to her and sticks his head in front of her tits the whole day, that's harassment. Even though she's in public, and he's making sure not to touch her and he's just looking at her.

Same thing with Google. Sure, a lot of the data they collect is public, but actually systematically collecting it all and searching it and compiling secret summaries for law enforcement is bordering on harassment, even though the people who are being harassed don't realize it's happening and aren't being _directly_ harmed (but _indirectly_ very much).

Re:Goose meet Gander (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544805)

The reality is that if it is done withing public view it can not be private.

Except that now thanks to the quadricoptor hovering 3 inches from the window we can watch the young girl change into her bikini through the privacy screen in "public" view.

Re:Goose meet Gander (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543593)

I second that. Schmidt looks more and more like the enemy every day

Re:Goose meet Gander (2)

VirtualVirtuality (2895477) | about a year ago | (#43543613)

Well there's a difference between people _choosing_ to use services like Google, GMail et al, and having your privacy 'invaded' by a drone to which you have not agreed in any way. As for 'readily divulge information without notifying', are they even allowed to? They certainly aren't allowed to say 'no' to that request, and AFAIK Google is the only organisation which actually lists information regarding these 'user data' requests from the government.

Re:Goose meet Gander (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544035)

So you choose to use a site which transmits your information to Google Analytics, loads JavaScript from googleapis, has advertising from AdSense or doubleclick (yes, that's Google, too), or causes your browser to contact Google for any other purpose (googleusercontent, g+, ...)?

Normally you don't know in advance that the site does this (and unless you are very well informed, you may not know it at all, especially for things like Analytics), and unless you've explicitly equipped your browser to prevent that access (NoScript, RequestPolicy, AdBlock), at the time you'll be able to figure it out the access already will have happened.

The problem is not the Google sites you go to. If you don't want Google to read your mail, you just don't use a gmail account, no problem. But if you don't want Google to know which non-Google pages you surf, it's not a matter of choosing. Unless you actively work on prevention (the drone equivalent would be to actively block the view from above), when surfing the net you will contact Google servers sooner or later.

As for 'readily divulge information without notifying', are they even allowed to?

Of course they are allowed to not have the information. Information you don't collect, you can't divulge when asked to. As long as there's no law saying that you have to collect that information, you're safe when not doing so.

Re:Goose meet Gander (1)

amirishere (2651929) | about a year ago | (#43544395)

I just had a great idea, if we install weapons on the drones they'd be protected by the second amendment. Now we just got to find a way to install a uzi on the rsa-2048

Re:Goose meet Gander (5, Interesting)

Spliffster (755587) | about a year ago | (#43544575)

I am co-founder of a company that produces small autonomous aircrafts. Google bought one from us.

Return of the Semantic Jedi (2)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#43544581)

Some satire I wrote five years ago when Google created Knol, reposted here: http://lists.alioth.debian.org/pipermail/freedombox-discuss/2011-February/000401.html [debian.org]

Gold Leader: Pardon me for asking, sir, but what good are semantic wikis and desktops going to be against [that]?
General Dodonna: Well, the Empire doesn't consider a small cgi script on a shared server or desktop to be any threat, or they'd have a tighter defense. ...

Commander #1: We've analyzed their attack on Knol, sir, and there is a danger. Should I have your Golden Parachute standing by?
Governor Schmidt: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.

----

Maybe the same goes fro private drones in the balance between meshworks and hierarchies?
http://www.t0.or.at/delanda/meshwork.htm [t0.or.at]
"Indeed, one must resist the temptation to make hierarchies into villains and meshworks into heroes, not only because, as I said, they are constantly turning into one another, but because in real life we find only mixtures and hybrids, and the properties of these cannot be established through theory alone but demand concrete experimentation."

Interesting ammendent suggestion. Also related by me: http://pcast.ideascale.com/a/dtd/The-need-for-FOSS-intelligence-tools-for-sensemaking-etc./76207-8319 [ideascale.com]

All that said, I think Eric Schmidt has done a lot of great things, and we could have much worse at the heart of Google. Anyone in that position would face a lot of constraints about what he could say or do; it's amazing anyone could do as well as he has. As Langdon Winner wrote about, the systems (including bureaucracies) we create shape the nature of what components are allowed to exists in them. If the components (including people) act too far out of expectations, they are replaced.

Hypocrisy thy name is Eric (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543307)

Instead of whining about his privacy, shouldn't Eric just refrain from doing things he doesn't want others to see? That's what he told us plebes, anyway.

Re:Hypocrisy thy name is Eric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544229)

In case somebody isn't familiar with the very stupid ES quote "If you have something that you dont want anyone to know, maybe you shouldnâ(TM)t be doing it in the first place."

How stupid does he think the rest of us are?

I realize he's rich and all.. (3, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about a year ago | (#43543329)

But Eric's comments make him sound like kind of a moron. Maybe he should stick to computers.

Hint: "Uhh, durr, how would you like it if your neighbor just built a tall treehouse in his yard and stared at your house all day! These treehouses have to be regulated! Oh, and duhh, what if someone uses an RC controlled car and they just drive it around menacingly on your sidewalk in front of your house!".

And now, back to things that are likely to happen in any meaningful number and which can't be easily handled with existing statutes...

Wikidrones. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543361)

The DC group is basically saying with drones the public can more easily "wikileaks" those who have the power, hiding behind high fences and walls. Scrutinize them to the same degree they scrutinize us. If we're going to lose our privacy, they should to.

Re:Wikidrones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543447)

You mean like sending a drone to peer through the windows of Google's finance department around tax filing time? I can see why Schmidt might be worried.

Re:Wikidrones. (4, Interesting)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#43543597)

Or maybe they had something more direct in mind:

It is a commonplace that the history of civilisation is largely the history of weapons. In particular, the connection between the discovery of gunpowder and the overthrow of feudalism by the bourgeoisie has been pointed out over and over again. And though I have no doubt exceptions can be brought forward, I think the following rule would be found generally true: that ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance. Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon — so long as there is no answer to it — gives claws to the weak.

George Orwell, "You and the Atomic Bomb" [orwell.ru]

Re:Wikidrones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543701)

The most powerful weapon available to the masses is organized thought.

Re:Wikidrones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544059)

The most powerful weapon available to the masses is organized thought.

I don't have the impression that organized thought is available to the masses. It's apparently beyond their capabilities.

Captcha: futile

Re:Wikidrones. (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year ago | (#43544759)

Right; I think this is really the best argument for all those who want to 'regulate' drones. I don't like them. I know they are going to be abused and misused.

The problem is regulation won't fix that. It will just ensure a certain group gets to abuse the rest of us with them AND deny the rest of us the economic benefits, intellectual opportunities, and chance to return the favor for abuse.

You can't put the genie back in the bottle. All regulation does is create haves and have nots. The best most equitable thing to do is permit everyone to use and possess technologies. And that goes for fast computers, cryptography, high capacity high rate fire arms, unmanned air crafts, all of it.

Eric Schmidt is incompetent (4, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#43543385)

He is not intellectually qualified to be making the decisions of the Google CEO. He's a dork. A geek minus the technical understanding.

He really showed his ass on Colbert last night: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/425750/april-23-2013/eric-schmidt [colbertnation.com]

His comments about privacy alone "...they shouldn't be doing bad things" show his ignorance.

On the Colbert Report interview, he claims, "no one knows what the internet is..." and that "humans will one day live forever" and that your "data cannot be deleted"

All of which are false. 1. The internet is a global computer network capable of running applications with continuous connections among users. 2. is not falsifiable so it's just used-car salesman bullshit and 3. if it is stored in memory, it by definition can be deleted. if it's not stored in memory, then it's not on the internet.

And from another discussion I've found that there be trolls on the topic of Schmidt...so, those who say 'He's a CEO not a technician!@!@11'...fsk off...every CEO needs a basic understanding of what they are doing. Schmidt is a fanboi of his own product and it's egregious.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about a year ago | (#43543409)

Yeah, I hadn't seen that but it's more confirmation of my theory (from reading is asinine, risible comments on drones) that he is a high functioning moron. Think Dubya without the charm.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543465)

Does he make that many decisions? He's the public face of Google and holds motivational speeches. Isn't that good for a CEO? They have enough qualified people to write software and make decisions, and those probably prefer the CEO to be a dork and not interfere too much.

heading off other trolls (5, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#43543547)

the public face of Google and holds motivational speeches. Isn't that good for a CEO?

No. The CEO is the final decision maker on all resource allocation. The CEO has final approval of all deals. The CEO chooses who works for the company. The CEO has to sign **Sarbanes-Oxley** and risk jail time on the company's financial accuracy.

You are a troll for sure, but your notions are ruining American business and I hate it. You really deserve to work in a cubicle doing drone work with your attitude.

If you disagree, you can type your bullshit argument but it won't get a response from me. This response is the only response necessary.

You are giving the **CEO** a pass. You and everyone who uses your line of thinking is a troll.

Re:heading off other trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544905)

I don't see what's wrong with CEOs being public figures. Edison was a public figure. Ford and Rockefeller - also great entrepreneurs with public faces. The reason we have so many Ford quotes at our disposal, is because he was a very public person, voicing his opinions on things that mattered to him. This part of CEO's job description was lost somewhere after the WWII but recently it's making a big comeback thanks to people like Richard Branson, Bernie Ecclestone, Alan Sugar, Elon Musk and most notably perhaps, late Steve Jobs.
Granted, Steve Ballmer is no Henry Ford, but still I don't think it's wrong or even undesired. The only thing is one has to remember they are often speaking on behalf of their company's current policies, rather than their own beliefs.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year ago | (#43543645)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Google fanboy much less I'm defending their bullshit. But if I had mod points right now, I think I'd vote you down.
You may not agree with what Google do. That is alright, there are thousands of things(including this topic) I don't agree either. But to say that Eric Schmidt is incompetent or a dork is just a display of ignorance. The guy successfully helped Google to become on of the most important technology companies in the world from both a economical/marketing/money making point of view as well as sociological/structural point of view. If that is incompetence then I'll never try to be competent in my life again.
He says crap? Yes he does and a LOT. Why? Because that is part of his freaking job. Google makes money by using other people privacy. I guarantee you he knows very well what internet is and that data can be deleted. If he said anything different he would either ruin Google image(perceived by the average Joe, Google's main target) or ruin Google strategy.
Bullshitting is common practice for CEOs that making a living out of the average Joe/mainstream market that doesn't know any better. His job is to bring money to his company and bullshitting is just another tool. He doesn't need to care about what a handful of nerds think. It sucks, but there better ways to fight against him instead of just speculating about his intellect and calling him names. The guys from DC got it in the right direction.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543661)

I don't know if we saw the same interview, but I think you are twisting his words.

1. He does claim that "no one knows what the internet is...", but he doesn't claim that the physical internet (a global computer network) is an unknown entity, but that actions on the internet are unpredictable. You may choose to believe that they are indeed predictable (and one day they might be), but describing the internet as "a global computer network capable of running applications with continuous connections among users" is not attacking his claim, but rather twisting it.

2. Sure, the statement that "humans will one day live forever" is not falsifiable, but it's not necessarily bullshit. Of course, no one can completely predict what's going to happen (and also prove a priori that there predictions will be correct) because of the inherent randomness in the universe. However, it is his view that technology and science will one day get good enough to support infinite human lives, a view that he has developed being exposed to a lot of technology and progress in his time, and a world view which many intelligent people share.

3. He does claim that "there is no delete button on the internet," ( something which is probably good for Google, and something which google probably helped influence to be true (and will keep influencing)) but as a supporting argument to claiming that you could live forever digitally. However, you take his statment to mean that data can never be deleted, but I took it to mean that as it is currently implemented, and as it will be implemented, you can (choose to) live forever on the internet.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543859)

A lot of people seem to agree with your bullshit. You all love the fantasy of being intellectually superior to Eric Schmidt.
You prove this face by selecting three statements he made while being interviewed on a fucking comedy show, and then proceed to tear him a new one with your amazing brain thing.

On the Colbert Report interview, he claims, "no one knows what the internet is..." and that "humans will one day live forever" and that your "data cannot be deleted"
All of which are false. 1. The internet is a global computer network capable of running applications with continuous connections among users. 2. is not falsifiable so it's just used-car salesman bullshit and 3. if it is stored in memory, it by definition can be deleted. if it's not stored in memory, then it's not on the internet.

1. Your candy-ass library definition of what the Internet is gave me a chuckle. Thanks for that. I assumed he meant that no one person knows what the Internet does...it's fucking huge. It's used by billions for who knows how many thousands of uses.
2. I'm pretty sure he meant one day some humans will be able to live without growing old. There is no doubt about that if our advances in knowledge and technology continue at their current pace. I'm sure when this treatment becomes available Eric will be able to afford it no problems at all. You and me on the other hand will probably be shit out of luck.
3. Do you have delete access to the filesystems and databases for Facebook and Google and Yahoo and Twitter and web.archive.org and every other international or domestic government, corporate and private server that receives or crawls the Internet for Information? Do you have delete access to the filesystem snapshots those databases are hosted on? Do you have delete access to the tape backups for those databases and filesystems? Or the browser caches of the people that looked at it? Or the zips of the home directories of those browser caches? Or the DVDs that were burnt? Or the USB sticks that were written? Or the SD cards? Or the mobile phones?
Let me assure you that only in the most unicorn infested fantasy land can your personal data be magically deleted from everywhere.
But no, forget all that. You're much smarter than the CEO of Google. He just got really, really, really, really lucky. Damn it, they should give you the job!

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543983)

Where have you been for the last two years? Eric Schmidt hasn't been the CEO of Google since January 2011, when Larry Page took over.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544023)

(minor correct: announced Jan 2011, actual transfer April 2011)

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544027)

Schmidt is not the CEO and has not been for several years now. That's Larry Page.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544203)

He also said in the wikileaks interview with him he doesn't even know what Tor is. He comes off in that entire wikileaks interview as relatively technologically incompetent. The fact that he coauthored a book about the internet and is the CEO of America's greatest tech company is just hilarious.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (1)

Raenex (947668) | about a year ago | (#43544257)

He also said in the wikileaks interview with him he doesn't even know what Tor is.

So what? As privacy obsessed individuals lots of Slashdotters know what it is, and of course so would the founder of Wikileaks. For somebody running an Internet business the size of Google, it's nothing, not even a blip on the radar.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544365)

Except he wrote a book about the internet and doesn't seem to understand any of it.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (1)

Raenex (947668) | about a year ago | (#43544447)

Except lack of knowledge about Tor, an extremely minor part of the Internet, is poor evidence that Schmidt doesn't "understand any of it". Choose a better example.

Re:Eric Schmidt is incompetent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544595)

You should try actually reading his wikileaks interview transcript. You're right, Tor is only an extremely minor part of the internet. That doesn't excuse the whole rest of that disaster.

Something we - the people - tend to forget (2)

MindPrison (864299) | about a year ago | (#43543387)

... is that WE are the people. We make the laws, not them, alone.

Re:Something we - the people - tend to forget (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543505)

That is untrue. They make the laws. Alone. We follow them or go to prison.
Like a religion.
World wide juristiction.

Re:Something we - the people - tend to forget (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43543567)

I always wonder when I read this kind of post, who is 'they?' Are they something you heard about on X-Files? If it is, don't worry, I believe the truth is out there.

Re:Something we - the people - tend to forget (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543587)

they are the small minority that by virtue of having power and money can be considered a social group even if for all other purposes is not one. Social science is not all crap because it deals with analog shit. Stop being a jerk and go our of your cellar once in a while.

Re:Something we - the people - tend to forget (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43543625)

Stop being a jerk and go our of your cellar once in a while.

I can't, the man is keeping me down. I'm like a bat that just fell through a freshly cut hole in the floor that was covered casually with a carpet sono one would notice.

Re:Something we - the people - tend to forget (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543509)

That's easy to forget when most of the laws I want to make are repealing laws already on the books and the laws that no one should make ever are the ones being made. Doesn't feel like "we" to me.

Re:Something we - the people - tend to forget (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43543559)

People who pay attention make the laws. If 90% of the public doesn't pay attention, then the remaining 10% will have inordinate power.

The thing we forget isn't that we make laws, the thing we forget is to pay attention.

Re:Something we - the people - tend to forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543679)

People who pay attention make the laws. If 90% of the public doesn't pay attention, then the remaining 10% will have inordinate power.

The thing we forget isn't that we make laws, the thing we forget is to pay attention.

People in Congress make the laws whether we pay attention or not.

To stop them from passing bills into law, you have to literally start a nationwide popular movement against said law. Needless to say, this is not an easy thing to do. In most cases, laws are passed and there's not a goddamn thing we can do about it.

Re:Something we - the people - tend to forget (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43543751)

To stop them from passing bills into law, you have to literally start a nationwide popular movement against said law.

You mean.......people need to pay attention? When the people don't pay attention, then congress does whatever it wants.

Remember, democracy doesn't guarantee that the people get a good government, it guarantees the people get the government they deserve.

Re:Something we - the people - tend to forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543789)

You mean.......people need to pay attention? When the people don't pay attention, then congress does whatever it wants.

Uh... No. If people pay attention, then they have to get a few million other people to agree with them and take action in order to actually make a difference. If people pay attention and can't do what I just described, then it doesn't matter at all.

Re:Something we - the people - tend to forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544329)

... We make the laws ...

So you and your neighbours made a law creating the DHS with the power to ignore the 'probable cause' and 'protection from seizure' tenets of criminal law?

Similarly, have you and your neighbours decided to not make a law reducing federal spending and raising taxes?
Did you and your neighbours decide to not make a law enforcing background checks on weapons?

Nowhere on a voting ballet have I seen a list of the laws I am making. It's called representative democracy because I chose someone to represent my voice. Unfortunately my representative chooses to ignore me and disobey me.

Changing the balance of power (2)

gronofer (838299) | about a year ago | (#43543415)

I'm curious about what they mean by "power to change the balance of power between individuals and large bureaucracies in much the same way the Internet did in the past".

The Internet improves the ability of the people to speak back and organise themselves. Perhaps personal drones will allow the people to shoot back, with missiles?

Re:Changing the balance of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543611)

I suppose you are about right. The technology that military uses was always prohibitively expensive and difficult to use and today we have more of the stuff that for all purposes that matter can be used by anybody with a small budget. Internet and globalisation among other things made it possible. Now if I was looking at what modern cheap drones can do and I though - gee I can buy one of those things and see from close into roof window of my neighbours and publish it on some 'social' network site. Then I though that I did things with my wife (and other people) in such room that could be considered obscene if made public - I was assuming that nobody can see me even if windows were not obscure. I thought - how sick you must be to do such things. I thought then - how many sick individuals are really out there - not many but enough and their numbers are compounded by the silly and irresponsible youth. Maybe it is unstoppable maybe it is not - I prefer to limit some technology use. Then again it is USoA - place where god given right to bare arms is met with inability to use it responsibly. I think the fight is lost.

Re:Changing the balance of power (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year ago | (#43543617)

I'm curious about what they mean by "power to change the balance of power between individuals and large bureaucracies in much the same way the Internet did in the past".

The Internet improves the ability of the people to speak back and organise themselves. Perhaps personal drones will allow the people to shoot back, with missiles?

Yes, and monitor troop movements, etc. Here's the key to that being an unambiguous good thing, though: Think "Libya," not "United States."

Then think, "Oh yeah, and that's one of the founding principles of the United States, too, because we had to do it once and decided we would never relinquish that responsibility."

Now, whether missiles should be readily available, or if we should limit the rapidly deployable threat to the modern equivalent of hammering ploughshares into swords may be a fine question. But we need, at least, to keep the building blocks in the hands of the farmers for such a civil defense to remain practical.

If you're not in the United States, or some other nation in which the citizens are the sovereigns, or if you simply prefer to be a subject, well, you probably won't agree with their philosophy. Even so, I figure you can understand how some people might feel that way, though, right?

Re:Changing the balance of power (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about a year ago | (#43543785)

Why missiles? A semi-autonomous, RC aircraft large enough that it could carry some weapons can easily be repurposed as a cruise missile. Forget about putting weapons on it, they would be mostly too lightweight to be of any use. Instead, the whole device is a weapon: GPS guidance allows it to fly itself through a series of waypoints, an inexpensive camera on the nose can be used for terminal guidance. You can update it through 3G or 4G if you really have to, and a contrast seeker/image matching routine is no problem for an Arduino or Raspberry board. Put an incendiary, homemade thermite-based warhead on it (incendiaries do, pound per pound, more damage than explosives) and what else do you need? Design it the right way and the components will be immolated in the fire.

What a tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543431)

This is the same guy that doesn't think we should be allowed to drive.

Re:What a tool (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43544851)

This is the same guy that thinks only Google should be allowed to drive you anywhere.

FIFY.

DCDrone group is a fake (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543463)

Firstly DC Drone group looks like a lobby group created to head off legislation. Washington DC is where lobby groups live, so the location immediately rings bells,, and they say they were created in August of last year, but their DNS says they were created 30-Jan-2013, and updated just before the drone hearings were scheduled, April 9th. It looks like a hasty put together to market drones.
http://www.dcdrone.org/

I also disagree with their key point which I paraphrase as:
The ability to secretly invade privacy IS MORE EQUAL THAN EVER! We should be able to fly drones across private property and spy on anyone we want, especially hot sexy anyones!

PEOPLE WANT PRIVACY, Google Street View is always being slammed because people have an expectation of privacy, even when they're outside on the street!

Google Street View got complaints because the cars strayed on private property, and it took down those views. Google Street View got complaints it captured faces and number plates, and so they detected and blurred faces and number plates. Google Street View captured more than the intended Broadcast ID of the Wifi, their own privacy officer reported that and they got fined and deleted the data.

So they want privacy, even their faces in public, even their car number plates in public, even the data their Wifi is BROADCASTING, they don't want recorded.

This is far worse, these drones are great for photographing views, but they're a privacy disaster waiting to happen. Because now anyone can peer into your PRIVATE space, and people expect privacy and have a right to it.

How about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543513)

Unlicensed drones can't fly within 100m of private property, and if they carry a camera capable of zoom, 100m * Max_Zoom of people's property.

Simple, fly your drones, keep them away from other peoples property.

No different than Google being made to blur faces, delete broadcast wifi, or hide number plates. There's limits even to public space, privacy is a fundamental right, there is no right to do whatever you want in public space, and if these drones can be used to annoy and invade privacy then their use needs to be limited.

Oh and to the 'drones for everybody or drones for nobody' argument, if a drone can be used to invade someones privacy then even if the sheriff is flying a drone over private property, it's a search. No different than when the Feds went around shining high gain IR cameras onto peoples homes to look for possible pot growing offenses without a search warrant:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93127&page=1#.UXjD-MpdkcE

Don't forget about the scientific uses (5, Informative)

daveydave400 (1832814) | about a year ago | (#43543467)

I work on a NASA mission that studies tropical storms and attempts to understand their structure so they can be detected/avoided earlier. If it wasn't for the Global Hawk drones we use, pilots would be in danger from flying over the storms and flights would be much shorter (~8hr vs 24+hr) limiting the amount of science that can be done. Here's an article about the first year of three's results: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/missions/hs3/news/hs3-nadine.html [nasa.gov]

Re:Don't forget about the scientific uses (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43544359)

I work on a NASA mission that studies tropical storms and attempts to understand their structure so they can be detected/avoided earlier. If it wasn't for the Global Hawk drones we use, pilots would be in danger from flying over the storms and flights would be much shorter (~8hr vs 24+hr) limiting the amount of science that can be done. Here's an article about the first year of three's results: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/missions/hs3/news/hs3-nadine.html [nasa.gov]

Scientists use uranium and plutonium in experiments. That doesn't mean they should be available to the general public.

Re:Don't forget about the scientific uses (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544691)

Did you know that if the general public is willing to follow the various restrictions for them, they can purchase breeder reactor output just fine? They're pricey, but there exist individuals doing garage experiments using fissile materials. For that matter, if you stick to an amount of material under NRC regulatory limits, you can just go visit United Nuclear and have them ship to your front door without doing more than promising you'll "be good."

There's really very little that a determined individual making a decent salary can't legally do in terms of obtaining materials and performing experimentation. Data analysis of the result is probably the prohibitive factor in many cases, given the sheer amount of data that most experiments result in, but there's always the old Slashdot standby of the beowulf cluster...

Drones for everybody..... (1)

catsRus (548036) | about a year ago | (#43543481)

....or drones for nobody.

Anyone who can afford them? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543577)

False dichotomy, how about drones for everyone, but if you fly them over private property you need to be above 100m, or out of camera range, or have a search warrant if your the police?

You know... like you right to fly a drone, shouldn't take away my right to privacy.

Eric has a point (4, Insightful)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#43543491)

AFAICT, Eric Schmidt does not propose banning the personal use of drones, but is in favour of regulation.

If you'd prefer no regulation, then consider how much invasion of privacy someone who wanted to redo Googles Streetview and mapping could do with drones instead of land vehicles? Also reflect on the fact that large companies have the resources to have large fleets of drones. There are huge privacy implications and a start on addressing them is needed now.

regulate companies, NOT PEOPLE (3, Insightful)

cheekyboy (598084) | about a year ago | (#43543933)

I agree, they need regulation, but for corps only.

If its for private use, zero regulation. Current laws are enough to make the obvious illegal.

ie. 500 drones with ricin payloads

Jim, I disagree (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544277)

What if I used the drone to spy on you or your wife Mary over your house? Wouldn't you expect the law to protect your privacy?

IMHO, the use of surveillance drones should be regulated, both for corps, and people.

Banal (2)

gomiam (587421) | about a year ago | (#43543629)

"... there is a whole world of socially positive and banal applications for drones that are yet to be discovered."

I find it a bit difficult to understand that something banal is socially positive. Then again, maybe I am just not too social.

Re:Banal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543845)

Video games are banal.

Re:Banal (1)

gomiam (587421) | about a year ago | (#43544405)

Are all video games banal? Are any banal video games socially positive?

Re:Banal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543895)

"socially positive" and "socially banal"... does this help?

Timothy Reuter of Willard Street (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543709)

Well presumably Timothy can't see any privacy problem, so he won't mind me pointing to his location?
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=38.9163333N+77.040667W&hl=en&sll=77.040667,-38.916333&sspn=38.811128,88.066406&t=m&z=17

Is that the red brick house because your picture GPS says 1762 Willard street yet your DNS says 1778 Willard
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=38.9163333N+77.040667W&hl=en&ll=38.916289,-77.041259&spn=0.003364,0.002688&sll=77.040667,-38.916333&sspn=38.811128,88.066406&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=38.91629,-77.04112&panoid=DkuD61xjNNxqPJv7ixGc6g&cbp=12,200.57,,0,20.57

http://seowho.is/dcdrone.org

IMHO, there's a serious privacy problem with these drones, and it should be addressed just as there's a serious privacy problem with DNS that needs to be addressed, and a serious problem with Google Street View than needs to be addressed and a serious problem with iPhones that stick GPS locations in by default that needs to be addressed!

If you don't like cameras stuck into your windows, it's no different from how everyone else feels. It's intrusive even if its in public space.

All of this privacy invading **** needs to be regulated. Every single bit of it! And Apple should turn off your iPhone 4's habit of sticking in GPS location time and date, and websites are speech and DNS should not require the public address, and Street View should NOT let you zoom into windows and Drones should NOT be able to fly over private property. It's no different than if your neighbor climbed up ladder and started watching you over the hedge with a pair of binoculars. It needs to be regulated.

People see individual privacy infringements and they fight there little freedom, and don't see the big picture.

Drone over Kate's Boobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543741)

"I want my own drone so I can sell the live feed of Kate Middleton's* boobs when she bathes topless in France."
More seriously: how will we as a society handle these devices when we can all afford them - either to buy or lease on a minutely basis ?
[* Aka, the Duchess of Cambridge]

The thing about Eric Schmidt/Google/business is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543853)

Everything they say or have written in their usage terms of what you should not be doing are the very things that they are doing or fear would cause them harm to what they are doing. It is a psychotic protectionist reaction. If you ever want to beat a business at their own game you have to do all the things they tell you not to do. Basically you negate all their terms and then use it like a bucket list of things to do.

wanker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43543937)

That eric guy is a total hypocritical fucking wanker.

possession of drone parts? (1, Interesting)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43543973)

Does that mean that "possession of drone parts" will become a criminal offense? Android phones are drone parts...

The proposal is ridiculous if not for any other reason than that drones will likely be used extensively for home deliveries, environmental monitoring, and other purposes.

Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544275)

... whole world of socially positive ...

It's all good, until we decide the people have too much power. Schmidt is really arguing that he, after spying on people and collaborating with the government, deserves the same protection as the government.

From TFS (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43544317)

Personally owned flying robots today have the power to change the balance of power between individuals and large bureaucracies in much the same way the Internet did in the past.

The internet has enabled people to get unlimited quantities of porn, bully strangers at a distance, and do shopping from their homes. It has not altered the balance of power between individuals and bureaucracies, states or corporations in any tangible way.

And before anyone says it, the Arab spring was about masses of bodies on the streets, not the invention of Twatter.

swords have two edges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544335)

and the internet has greatly increased surveillance of individuals as much, or more than, it has increased their ability to communicate. and drones increase the ability of governments and corporations to monitor and spy. they do indeed change the balance of power -- sharply towards surveillance and monitoring.

bad argument (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43544653)

Personally owned flying robots today have the power to change the balance of power between individuals and large bureaucracies

And why, exactly, would you think Google wants to "change the balance of power"?

People who have power very rarely want to "change the balance of power".

True story.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544717)

from the offices of the people who have an unmanned car parked outside your house

automatically taking pictures, posting the images online-

and "accidentally" logging your wifi packets.

Seems legit.

Drones (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about a year ago | (#43544727)

Shoot 'em all, government and civilian....

Drones would compete with Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544795)

Streetview, Google Earth, etc. Drones with cameras compete with all of the Google services that take pictures. Of course he wants to squash them.

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