EricSchmidt008In an interview with the Guardian, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said that consumers shouldn’t be able to keep drones for their personal use, because of potential problems they might cause.

“You’re having a dispute with your neighbor,” he said. “How would you feel if your neighbor 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?”

Schmidt makes a good point: Drones have the capability to be seriously invasive. But that’s a bit rich coming from the Executive Chairman of Google, the company that was responsible for snagging data from wi-fi networks with its Street View cars, and has already tested self-driving vehicles. Never mind Google Glass, which straps a camera to the side of a user’s face, earning it a ban from a pair of Seattle businesses.

droneBut as Bill Gates pointed out earlier this week, drones have the potential to be a force for good. It’s easy to see how drones could benefit rural communities, where a neighbor’s cup of sugar could easily be a few miles away.

It’s also entirely possible that Schmidt just wants to make sure the skies are clear for the upcoming drone war between major Internet and logistics companies. Google is reportedly also working on testing drone delivery for its services, a move that would compete with Amazon’s recently announced (but not yet realized) PrimeAir service. If average consumers are out flying their own drones, that could cause traffic jams or collision problems for commercial deliveries.

Still, it seems like this is the old maxim “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t” in action. Schmidt, who’s known for wanting to keep his personal life private, feels like he can trust Google and other large companies not to abuse their drone privileges, while private citizens seem less trustworthy. Whether or not those citizens trust Schmidt is another story.

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  • noemiex

    What a maroon!

  • drool

    Apparently Mr Schmidt isn’t aware of the law as it exists now.

    • Thomas A B Johnson

      The law does not apply to oligarchs.

  • Adam

    That guy is a smartypants. Imagine a world where neighbors were allowed to have things that they could use to harass and annoy each other.

  • guest

    I have a 2nd amendment right to weaponized drones, dammit!

  • jettcity

    What am I missing here? Hasn’t he been on Youtube lately and seen all the great footage posted by hobbyists using their personal quadcopters/drones which are widespread and commercially available to everyone?

  • jqpabc123

    Eric Schmidt says people shouldn’t have privacy — although he wants it.

    Isn’t it obvious by now that we shouldn’t pay much attention to what Eric Schmidt says?

  • Thomas A B Johnson

    Track Mr Schmidt with a cloud of go pro drones. This cloud of drones shall be called “cookies”.

  • fran farrell

    Repeating Luddite rumors from 2011 are we? Why not also bring up complaints from the cookie builders that Google plans to put an end to cookies in 2014 as cookies are inimicable with secure and private data on the web.

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