That is the question! For is it better to protect our homeland by using remote controlled aircraft systems to find those in need of help, fleeing criminals, and help guide officers. Or to protect our privacy from robots peeking over our privacy fences and into our bedroom windows?
This is the debate going on in the US. I won't use this to speak about the use of drones to launch strikes into other nations for that is a different debate. This is one focusing on the use of it by Police, Rescue and other public services to help them do their jobs faster and with more success.
Public Services have been asking for the technology sense the US military released it's designs and they were made cost effective by private companies. With these, you can have Game Wardens roaming the forests at a much faster pace to locate poachers. Mountain Rescue could locate those in need of help faster than a helicopter can such as stranded hikers or those caught in an avalanche. This technology could be used to find lost children, locate hidden criminals, aid in police chases, and many other uses that have yet to be explored.
However, Privacy Advocates have been arguing one thing, invasion of privacy. Talking about using these drones to 'see into backyards' and 'peek into bedroom windows'. They told us that the police would use them to scan the skies 24/7, watching us all the time whether we liked it or not. What little privacy you would get from the public spaces could be stripped away as these weaponized systems scanned your homes with infrared and night vision cameras before launching attacks without warning.
Now that the setting and here is my side. Privacy Advocates need to calm the hell down. This is the drone you might think of when you think of drones:
Scary isn't it? Look at all those missiles and bombs. It's a death machine! Here's what Public Services want to use:
Aww, it's so cute! Yes, that is from Britain, but it shows the actual size of these drones. They aren't weapons of war, but more of cameras on an extra large RC toy. Has the battery life of one too. As apposed to the Big bad Military drone, these little things can fly for maybe a few hours at most before it putters out. The one on the picture? 20 minutes, maybe. That's just long enough for a quick search or a scan of an area, but not enough to keep watch on you all day. Not to mention their range is very short, the controller has to be nearby or it flies on a preprogrammed flight. And it isn't going far anyway with that little range.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6676809.stm
Still, that can peek into bedroom windows and over privacy fences, right? Sure, and so can any Joe with a wireless camera and an RC toy, as I said that's all they are. There are actual RC toys that come with actual cameras built in. No one is attacking them. And if you are worried about people peeking into your backyard, better put a tarp up because I can go on Google Maps and see into it just fine. Or maybe rent a helicopter and just fly over town. There are cameras built that can see the blades of grass from a helicopter at it's max height.
All I see is fear mongering and an attempt to keep worthwhile tools out of the hands of people who just want to do a better job of protecting us.