Drone operation is in the news recently, some of which are good but some news are not-so comfortable. Crashing of a hobbyist drone on the White House lawn put many in embarrassing situation. Thus many are left wondering whether drone operated by anyone can really pry into their privacy!
Today the NYC Council Member has seconded this concern by proposing a ban on commercial drone use for New York City. Now it seems that it’s not the Federal Government only which is seeking to reign in drones even though their popularity has grown over past few years. If the New York City Council Member gets his way, this means a ban of drones in the Big Apple from early this year. The ban won’t be applicable in special cases like if it is a police enquiry with warrant.
Insisting on the fact that he is not against technology, the Council Member agrees that unmanned aircraft systems have huge potential to help society and mankind. Drones can play significant role in monitoring structures, farmlands and factory setups. Most importantly these can be of great help in rescue missions in finding missing people.
In the same breath, the Council Member expressed concern over the fact that law enforcement agency are yet not capable of fully controlling drone operators if any of them are into illegal or mischievous acts. This is even more applicable in crowded city like New York.
During an interview with USA TODAY, he clarified this concern by pointing out that if a helicopter crashes on a crowded place then that hurts the pilot and also the group of people on whom it crashes.
However if a drone crashes on the same place, then that would harm people only but would leave the pilot unharmed. In fact it would be difficult to find the pilot if he is indeed into unlawful activities.
While talking to the reporter the Council Member agreed that drones do have some very beneficial applications. The problem lies in enforcing strict rules so as to prevent drone mishaps or misuse. Till the law enforcement issue gets straightened out he is not in favor of granting permission for commercial operation of drones.
At present ‘privacy’ remains the sole issue which is driving new drone laws in different parts of the United States. Till now drone laws have been passed in 14 of the 15 states which put curb on government agencies to use drones for monitoring purposes be it related to traffic control or managing a public rally.
Considering the fact that hobbyist drones are often seen frequenting airspace, seven of the 15 states have sought permission to reign in unmanned aircraft operation by private citizens. Take for instance Louisiana, where it is illegal to use drone to monitor individual or property without consent. Offenders incur fine of up to $500 and six months in jail too.
Drone advocates are not very happy with such stringent attitude adopted by these States. They feel that this would put the U.S. in a disadvantageous position and that too at a time when the drone industry is growing at a rapid pace!