April 25, 2017

Space Invaders – Is That A Selfie Drone I See Before Me?

By Scott Andersen

Selfie Drone Privacy Issues

The growing concept of privacy is one that I find very interesting and this is where the selfie drone come into play.

Recently a new product has been advertised on TV. It is a personal drone, perfect, as the advertisement says for selfies. First of all, while I understand the need for and have taken a few myself, a selfie should be done with your phone in your hand. A selfie should at worst convince the rest of us crammed into the subway car that this is where you will be taking your selfie.

Space Invaders

For the past two years, there has been an interesting debate going on. The first is who owns an image taken by a camera located in a public place. The argument being that the police have the right to review any images captured by such a camera. However, if my image is there, can they keep it?

The same by the way is also true for all those selfies taken. At arm’s length and aimed towards a person a selfie isn’t likely to get more than part of another person. But if it does who owns that image? Once you launch that selfie drone, what image do you own?

Again, if there is a criminal act, I understand that until the police find the video or evidence of the crime, my image isn’t my image. I accept that invasion of privacy. But if you launch a “selfie” drone are you responsible for my image? What are my rights, walking by you in a park? Am I allowed to knock your drone out of the sky?

For safety, all of us are willing to accept that cameras scan us as we walk into airports and walk out of bus stations, train stations and so on. It is a component of security versus privacy. We accept and understand that our image may appear in pictures that we don’t know about. We accept that because it is important to understand the reality of shared security. I am willing, for the safety of the people around me to accept that.

I do not, however, standing in the park playing frisbee with my dog that my image is open for sharing. I understand the allure of a selfie drone. It offers the opportunity to see all of you and share that with your adoring public. Sharing all of me, however, makes me nervous.

Privacy is about my personal rights. It is about the space around me. Your selfie drone, hovering above you, unless you are using a closeup lens, is capturing me as well. I would prefer that you didn’t do that. As we head into the drone future, the reality of the area around me is personal space. If you violate my personal space with a selfie drone, I may ask you to get away from me. I won’t whack your drone with my selfie stick, but I will nicely ask you to avoid my personal airspace.

If I nicely ask you to land your drone, it isn’t me hating technology. It is simply me saying that I would prefer you to not fly directly over me, broadcast images of me and my dog playing frisbee. I would also prefer that the world didn’t know that my dog never misses, and also throws the frisbee better than I do.

By Scott Andersen

Scott Andersen

Scott Andersen is the managing partner and Chief Technology Officer of Creative Technology & Innovation. During his 25+ years in the technology industry Scott has followed many technology trends down the rabbit hole. From early adopter to last person selecting a technology Scott has been on all sides. Today he loves spending time on his boat, with his family and backing many Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects.
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