Feeds

Ban drones taking snaps of homes, rages Google boss... That's HIS job, right?

Damn it, we're gonna need a new irony detector

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Google supremo Eric Schmidt has demanded tough rules on civilians flying surveillance drones, branding the tech a threat to privacy.

The executive chairman of the internet advertising giant that snaps photos of millions of front doors worldwide is upset that cheap camera-toting aircraft can be used by anyone from terrorists to quarrelling neighbours: folks could use the flying gear to snoop on people next-door or, say, buzz a reviled neighbour's summer BBQ.

"How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their backyard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?" asked Schmidt, whose company buys aerial photographs of the planet's surface and publishes them online for free.

The Google boss made the comments during an interview with The Guardian that was printed on Saturday.

Small remote-control drones, which can be fitted with cameras and other surprises, are readily available for hobbyists, businesses and governments. The kit can be deployed to track poachers, and cops have used the flying machines to locate marijuana farms and find fugitives, the Daily Mail adds.

The US Federal Aviation Administration is investigating how commercial drones may be safely introduced into US airspace. The tech is already used by military spooks to hunt and kill targets.

Schmidt wants tight controls if not an outright ban on the technology in private hands. "It's one thing for governments, who have some legitimacy in what they're doing, but have other people doing it ... it's not going to happen," he said.

The Google chief exec, who advises the Obama administration on technology issues, once famously said "if you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" regarding the US government requesting access to citizens' search histories. He also blacklisted CNet for a year after its journalists published personal information about him hoovered up from, er, Google search results. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.