SXSW Interactive 2013

Drones Gone Wild

By now, the public is quite familiar with unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, and their extensive and controversial use striking alleged militants in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and beyond. But overlooked in the drone debate is how they will soon be dramatically affect US citizens in their every day life. The FAA estimates that as many as 30,000 drones will be flying in US skies by 2020. But what will all these flying robots be doing? Will they be used primary for surveillance, or put to good uses? How will the technology advance, and most importantly, how will it affect Americans? This talk will cover the drones issue from many angles, touching on personal privacy, drone security and vulnerability to hacking, institutional transparency, and — of course — the future.

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  1. Do drones really pose a threat to privacy? How do they differ from street cameras or helicopters? One panelist has argued that drones may actually serve as a "catalyst" for privacy — how would that play out?
  2. Have drones been hacked before, and how easy will police drones be for hackers to take over when they start flying over American cities?
  3. What's the current legal framework that governs who may fly drones and under what conditions? How is that poised to change, and what might the consequences be of such a change?
  4. How does the US use of drones overseas affect Americans' perception of drones at home? Are these the same types of drones?
  5. What can Americans worried about the privacy threat posed by drones do to relieve those concerns? As the prices of drones and related hardware come down, and the complexity of obtaining and flying a drone drops similarly, are pervasive private and police drones inevitable?



Trevor Timm, Activist, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Meta Information:

  • Tags: drones, robots
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: WTF and Beyond
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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