Last month, a drone crashed into the White House. This was a bit of a worry – partly because it exposed the fact that White House security was unable to pick up on small, flying objects hurtling towards the president, but mostly because, if it can happen at the White House, it could happen to your house, too.
To remedy this situation, and the privacy concerns surrounding drones flying over your home with cameras, a group in the US has created No Fly Zone, a database which allows you to list your address as a no-go area for drones.
You can enter any address in the world, plus your name and email address, and it lets you set a no-fly zone over your house. Drone manufacturers can then program “invisible shields” around these properties into the drones’ mapping software:
Author’s address redacted so you can’t try to fly a drone into it.
That, at least, is the idea: manufacturers’ compliance is completely voluntary. According to its website, NoFlyZone is currently working with around six drone manufacturers to mark out other obvious no-fly zones, like airports or military bases – but that doesn’t mean all companies will comply. Even if they do, there is no standard for how high or wide the no-fly area would extend around your property.
The larger, overarching problem is the lack of regulation around drones: at the moment, rules about where you can and can’t fly drones is thin on the ground in most countries. In some places, you can’t fly a drone out of your line of sight – but in others, there’s not much stopping you flying one into the president’s house on a drunken night out. If databases like NoFlyZone are going to work, aviation agencies need to back them up with official regulations.
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