My Turn: Are drones helpful or an invasion of privacy? - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Are drones helpful or an invasion of privacy?

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In the past few days, our news team profiled a graduate student from UNCW who made a drone for his thesis. In the past few days, our news team profiled a graduate student from UNCW who made a drone for his thesis.

I know for certain I don't want a drone flying over my house anytime soon, but I can see where there could be some practical applications for this type of technology.

In the past few days, our news team profiled a graduate student from UNCW who made a drone for his thesis. 

Thinking the drone could help in an ocean rescue, he included software to help identify people who might need help in the water. That's a great idea, and I'm sure there are others.

Drones can be helpful during disasters and other emergency operations, and possibly where police are searching for criminals. But I also understand the privacy concerns.

The North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes next month and is expected to consider legislation banning drones in most instances in this state. 

I encourage our lawmakers to give this careful consideration. Before we throw the baby out with the bath water, let's give some thought as to what else we might be giving up in the process.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.


 

Emailed comments from viewers:

For those with the initial knee jerk reaction that most people will have to this kind of technology they should do a little research before going overboard. There is no good reason to "ban" these types of devices and the benefits far outweigh the negatives just as the student in the WECT segment was trying to point out. There are all kinds of applications for this kind of technology. Anything from law enforcement and rescue uses to commercial applications to just the average hobbyist who enjoys flying and photography.

Those who have been exposed to these machines understand that as far as privacy concerns go there are more covert ways of "spying" on people than the use of radio controlled aircraft.

A lot is made of privacy issues and these types of aircraft, and it's easy to suppose you could use them for spying. In practice, a "multi-rotor" is a very poor tool to snoop on people.

To start with, you can't get close enough to spy on anything without attracting attention. They aren't as noisy as a lawnmower, but make substantial noise and you can hear and see them if they are close enough to see individuals or details. Also, most can't support the use of telephoto lenses, which are more or less essential for that sort of thing. Since they're operated "line of sight," if someone can see the aircraft, then they can probably spot the operator - and isn't the essence of "spying", to go undetected?

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"I spec you are right".  This needs some more thought. It seems to me there may be more good than bad in drones. I have seen my neighbor's son with a "toy" one with a small camera attached, checking for roof damage after our last ice storm. AND that's just one everyday use.  Certainly more thought needed.  Thanks

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I believe drones will be helpful also it can catch the bad guys in action or catch them quickly. 

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