Saturday, May 11, 2013

It's like the Internet all over again


Chris Anderson, When the Drones Sneak Up On You

What neither the FAA nor privacy advocates understand,

We’ve seen this time and time again. In 1993, when I was at the Economist magazine, I wrote the publication’s first report on the Internet. In it, I described a scene at the FCC, the agency that regulates telecommunications networks.

* * *

The gap was widening rapidly, representing something altogether new; something, the FCC official admitted, "we know nothing about."

It was the foundation for the Internet, even though the true importance of that development did not become clear for another decade.

Now, twenty years later, the FAA is about to realize that it's making the same mistake with drones [as had the FCC with the Internet]. This technology is no longer something that goes through a regulatory approval process and comes from companies that file paperwork in Washington DC. You can buy drones in the shopping mall. Children fly them on weekends in the park. The Chinese make them in toy factories and sell them by the tens of thousands. The technology has democratized and it's now fast, cheap and out of [the]control [of government].