Google’s Eric Schmidt: Drones should be banned from private use

“The use of cheap, miniature ‘everyman’ drones needs to be banned by international treaties before such devices fall into the hands of private users including terrorists, the head of Google has said,” James Ball reports for The Guardian.

“In an extended interview with the Guardian, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google and an adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, warned of the potential of new technology to ‘democratise the ability to fight war,’ and said drones could soon be used to harass and spy on neighbours,” Ball reports. “‘You’re having a dispute with your neighbour,’ he hypothesised. ‘How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their back yard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?'”

MacDailyNews Take: Probably close to the same way we’d feel when showering at the gym while surrounded by Glassholes or how Steve Jobs felt watching Android “develop” while you sat on Apple’s Board, mole.

Google Android before and after Apple iPhone

Ball reports, “”[Schmidt said], ‘It’s got to be regulated. You just can’t imagine that British people would allow this sort of thing, and I can’t imagine American people would allow this sort of thing. 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.'”

“The US government’s use of military drones has proven increasingly controversial, with drone strikes on American citizens the subject of a recent 12-hour Senate filibuster by the Republican senator Rand Paul. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been responsible for at least 2,772 deaths,” Ball reports. “Schmidt’s warnings on privacy in the robotic era notwithstanding, Google itself has been frequently criticised by privacy campaigners concerned about the company’s huge reach and the extensive data collection used to power its multibillion-dollar advertising sales.”

Ball reports, “Challenged on these issues, Schmidt said Google was ‘super-sensitive’ on privacy and had voluntarily kiboshed projects it thought could lead to privacy breaches.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wonder how effective a driverless car could be to harass the neighbors?

Obviously, Eric Schmidt lacks the part of the brain that screams “Shut your mouth, you damnable hypocrite!”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Eric Schmidt claims everyone’s switching from iPhone to Android because it’s more intuitive or something – November 25, 2013
Eric Schmidt on Android: ‘It’s more secure than the iPhone’ – October 8, 2013
Eric Schmidt: Regulate civilian drones but not Google Glass – April 15, 2013
Google’s Schmidt sees ‘majority’ of TVs with Google TV by summer – December 8, 2011
Eric Schmidt: ‘Google is a great innovator; Android effort started before the iPhone effort’ – November 8, 2011
Google CEO Schmidt: If you don’t like being in Google Street View then ‘just move’ – October 28, 2010
Google CEO Schmidt: Change your name to escape ‘cyber past’ – August 18, 2010

47 Comments

  1. Kinda like, how would you feel when all those google glass people come in, secretly recording and causing havoc in your place of business, home, streets, parks, etc.? Hmmm…I wonder…what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander I’m guessing.

    1. Yeah, glass must be banned from private premises and should be banned from public use.

      Mr Schmidt thinking strongly resembles the “for me to win you have to lose” philosophy.

      Regarding this “Obviously, Eric Schmidt lacks the part of the brain that screams “Shut your mouth, you damnable hypocrite!””

      It may have something to do with ‘mid’ in his last name.

    2. Or say, if some company sent cars around, capturing your wifi data and taking pictures through your front windows, even driving up your private driveway.

      I’m sure Eric will agree to a nice compromise, something along the lines of only gov’t and corporations with more than $500 million in annual revenue can use drones.

  2. uh, the “terrorists” already have them.

    “The United States government has made hundreds of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004 using drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) controlled by the American Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division. Most of these attacks are on targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Northwest Pakistan.
    These strikes were begun by President George W. Bush and have INCREASED SUBSTANTIALLY under President Barack Obama. Some media refer to the series of attacks as a “drone war”. Until very recently, the U.S. had officially denied the extent of its policy; in May 2013 it acknowledged for the first time that four U.S. citizens, including Anwar Al-Awlaki, had been killed in the strikes. Surveys have shown that the strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, where they have contributed to a negative perception of the United States.
    There is a debate regarding the number of civilian and militant casualties. An estimated 286 to 890 civilians have been killed, including 168 to 197 children. Amnesty International found that a number of victims were unarmed and that some strikes could amount to war crimes.”

  3. I understand ‘the enemy of your enemy, is your friend’ mantra. But, how was this hypocrite with terminal foot in mouth disease ever competent enough to sit on Apple’s board?

  4. Cheap drones you can fly with an iPhone are already available. Too late to ban them. And in shocked Goigle wouldn’t want to use them for a DroneView maps application.

    1. Eric the Mole should stick to helping Google to land gracefully.

      Heck, ranchers, timber business, crop growers and any number of other businesses including ski resorts might like to use a drone for perfectly sound and safe uses to verify situations in the field, where it could even be dangerous to send out people.

      1. What! I haven’t noticed smart or dumb as a differentiator when it comes to comic appreciation. The idea that someone is either smart or dumb has nothing to do with finding Schmidt absolutely ridiculous. 🙂

  5. Schmidt’s trollish comments aside, think of how great it would be if Apple could deploy an army of camera drones flying at 3,000 ft (~1,000 m) above rooftop height mapping the inhabited places on Earth. The mapping data would produce high quality overview of street maps, better quality than the satellite views that we have today.

    1. Ah, nothing like waking up in the morning to the sound of thousands of leaf blowers zooming about overhead.

      On the other hand, I own excellent ear protection, and enjoy target practice, and am sane enough to know that the current administration has actually made no moves whatsoever to restrict gun ownership amongst law-abiding citizens. I assume it would be law-abiding to defend my property from any vehicle, drone or otherwise, that enters without asking permission, and will not leave on my command.

      1. As with everything someone will always find a way to bring the drones down. I remember one day a neighbour of mine couldn’t stand the sound of model aircraft. Enthusiasts who used to regularly meet and play in the local park would fly them around all Sunday afternoon every week. Annoyed with the noise, my neighbour bought a controller and a box of frequency crystals. One by one he overrode the controls and crashed every single plane that day. Its been quiet here ever since.

  6. That makes no sense on many levels. How’s making it illegal going to affect terrorists? Nearly by definition, they do whatever it takes to achieve their goals even when it’s illegal or morally reprehensible. They’ll get drone technologoy from corrupt government elements if they can’t find them commercially. And, if drones are so dangerous in the wrong hands, why should only civilians be banned from using them? States, not individuals, commit the largest and destructive crimes against humanity – and states are the only currently who weaponize drone. Finally, how would such a law even define a ‘drone’? Would this law ban all robots? Or does a legal robot become an illegal drone when it can fly? What’s the difference between a drone and a remote control toy airplane?

  7. Eric Schmidt is starting to make Steve Ballmer look like a Rhodes Scholar. He’s making Bill Gates look like a genius. The things he says are so stupid and betray such a dimly lit view of the technology landscape that he should stand as a beacon to anyone who thinks making a million dollars is just too hard. You too can be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and probably pull it off indefinitely. When they notice, they’ll just push you to the side and keep paying you out of embarrassment.

    What the hell does he think a self driving car is?

    1. This has everything to do with money. It’s a battle between Google and Amazon…likely for search advertising money and commerce to a large extent. Of course Google doesn’t like the idea of anyone coming up with a better mousetrap (delivery via drones) that threatens their search cash cow.

      That said, I thought Bezos announcing this on 60 minutes the day before Cyber Monday was pretty damn genius. Got everyone talking about Amazon and obviously ruffled feathers in executive suite at Mountain View, CA.

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