TMZ Seeks Permission from the FAA to Use Drones [UPDATED: TMZ Denies]
Celebrity news and gossip website TMZ is seeking the permission to use drones to hunt down celebrities and help with news gathering, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, TMZ isn’t the only organization seeking to use the high tech flying machines in American skies.
The paper says “The Federal Aviation Administration has been flooded with applications from police departments, universities, private corporations and even the celebrity gossip site TMZ, all seeking to use drones that range from devices the size of a hummingbird to full-size aircraft like those used by the U.S. military.”
This is a case where technology is moving faster than lawmakers can react, currently there is very little regulation of the use of drones in America, the FCC says that one of the main problems is that drones lack the ability to detect and avoid other aircraft.
While safety is a concern, what about privacy? Is it OK for TMZ to fly a drone over a celebrities house capturing photos that they wouldn’t normally be able to get? Is it OK for local police to fly a drone over your house watching for “suspicious” activity? Is it OK for a neighbor to fly a drone over your lakeside neighborhood watching you and your kids play in your fenced in backyard or you doing some “private” tanning maybe? All these questions need to be answered before our skies are full of pilotless drones watching our every move.
In a post at TMZ.com, the website claims it has NO interest in using drones, they say “Truth is … while drones are, in fact, awesome … it just ain’t true.”
Somehow I don’t believe them, frankly if I were them I would be investigating the use of the technology. Why not? As long as it’s legal, why wouldn’t they use every advantage, if they don’t, their competition will.