Yesterday, a small, toy drone crashed on the White House grounds, an event which has prompted the White House and various others folks to call yet again for comprehensive regulations governing small, toy drones.
Obama said he had told the agencies to make sure that "these things aren't dangerous and that they're not violating people's privacy." He said that commercially available drones empower individuals, but that the government needs to provide "some sort of framework that ensures that we get the good and minimize the bad."…
"There are incredibly useful functions that these drones can play in terms of farmers who are managing crops and conservationists who want to take stock of wildlife," the president told CNN's Fareed Zakaria….
But he noted that the drone that landed at the White House was the kind "you buy at Radio Shack." And he said that the government had failed to keep up with the use of the flying devices by hobbyists and commercial enterprises.
"We don't really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it," Mr. Obama said.
And oh yeah, about the guy who was operating the drone (a quad-copter model that was about two feet across and weighed all of two pounds)? It turns out he's an employee of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, which itself uses drones for all sorts of stuff, but that's fine because you know, it's the government.
He told Secret Service investigators that he had been drinking at an apartment nearby before he lost control of the craft, the officials said.
The man told investigators that he went to bed despite fearing that the drone had flown over the White House. After friends told him about news reports on the drone Monday morning, he contacted the authorities.
Friends don't let friends drone drunk, especially when it might lead to a crackdown on non-commerical use of private unmanned aerial vehicles.
Hat tip: Mike Spinney's Twitter feed.
Last spring, Jerry Brito made the case that drones should be allowed to live free.
In 2013, Reason TV's Paul Detrick explored and explained why drones are just for bombing people anymore. Take a look now: