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Google Testing an Airborne Camera Drone

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the watching-over-us dept.

Google 182

mbone writes "The Blogoscoped site carries news that Google has purchased a German 'Microdrone' for evaluation (here is the original German version). These devices can take off, fly a mission, and land automatically using GPS. They can carry night-vision cameras or even 'see-through-walls' Far IR cameras. Of course, the maker of these drones assures us that they cannot be a 'Big Brother in the sky' because that is 'verboten.' Is it just me, or is Google entering dangerous airspace here? It seems like the ruckus from a backyard-after-dark addition to Street View could completely overshadow the legal tussles Google has already encountered with its street-level photography." Reader Jaymi clues us to another airborne effort a couple of Google employees are mounting with some help from NASA Ames: the NexusOne PhoneSat project — to determine if low-cost mobile phone components can withstand space travel.

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Privacy (3, Insightful)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183166)

As long as the only pictures they take are legal ones from public places (including airspace), I don't have a problem.

Re:Privacy (3, Interesting)

Jmanamj (1077749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183230)

Personally, I think it makes total sense for Google to consider a fleet of small, cheap, stable camera platforms that can take detailed pictures of an area and update the Google maps service. Consider how helpful it would be if they were sent out weekly to major construction zones along rodes that cause all sorts of detours and traffic issues, so when you check a route on Google maps you wont be told to take non-existing or unaccessible roads/offramps/turns/etc.

Re:Privacy (4, Insightful)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183290)

There is only a need to update the pictures of places that are changing, like your example of a construction site. Constant picture taking of the average persons property is considered harassment.

Re:Privacy (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183742)

Constant picture taking of the average persons property is considered harassment.

This happens all the time anyhow. I'm not certain that actually knowing about it and having access to those images makes it worse. You could argue that the ubiquitous public availability in itself is a bad thing, but I don't think I'm alone in saying that I trust my "neighbor" more than I trust law enforcement or shadowy military organizations.

But then I'm not claiming that my housing development is still farmland.

Re:Privacy (3, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183760)

but I don't think I'm alone in saying that I trust my "neighbor" more than I trust law enforcement or shadowy military organizations.

You don't know my neighbor.

Re:Privacy (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183998)

Constant picture taking of the average persons property is considered harassment

So I can sue the private non-government sat picture folks? It is a fact that they are constantly taking pictures of my property (along with billions of others).

Re:Privacy (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183806)

Cool, my new arduino controlled anti-drone system will get a work-out. O.k., I designed it for crows and animals feeding on my garden, but now I'm going to for really cool surface-to-air tech.

Re:Privacy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183288)

As long as the only pictures they take are legal ones from public places (including airspace), I don't have a problem.

I might agree if they are abiding by FAA rules. I doubt that's the intent because the images they would get at that attitude would be little more than satellites give now. Also I doubt the FAA would see the humor of these buzzing around aircraft airspace. The problem becomes how far above your house are you comfortable having surveillance drones flying? Do you see a problem with them looking in your second story bedroom window? It's disturbing that privacy itself is becoming a quaint old fashion concept.

Re:Privacy (4, Insightful)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183340)

The problem there is when it becomes "surveillance", In my own country, you must have a warrant for that. Taking pictures of the inside of a home is considered surveillance. How far above my house? Interesting question, it doesn't really matter how high I say, as camera quality is getting better all the time, it's the quality of the picture that should matter. Should they be allowed to take pictures from airspace that can see your property as well as if you were standing on the roof? I don't think so. Remember, I'm speaking of the back yard here, what you show on the front yard is practically a public display.

Re:Privacy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183590)

I have never heard of a warrant a warrant being needed to conduct surveillance. It is not the same as a search. In any case those laws usually only apply to the government, which Google is not.

Re:Privacy (3, Funny)

FlyMysticalDJ (1660959) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183390)

As long as I can hit them with a crowbar or use my zero-point energy field manipulator on them, I don't see a problem...

Re:Privacy (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183666)

As long as the only pictures they take are legal ones from public places (including airspace), I don't have a problem.

I might agree if they are abiding by FAA rules. I doubt that's the intent because the images they would get at that attitude would be little more than satellites give now. Also I doubt the FAA would see the humor of these buzzing around aircraft airspace. The problem becomes how far above your house are you comfortable having surveillance drones flying? Do you see a problem with them looking in your second story bedroom window? It's disturbing that privacy itself is becoming a quaint old fashion concept.

In most places model airplanes have free reign under 500 feet altitude. I bet these little UAVs would spent a lot of time under that limit. Probably around 100 feet. They just have to stay clear of airports, and particularly the approach and departure trajectories.

Don't get sucked in!

Re:Privacy (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184130)

These things sound like the Hexacopter [youtube.com] . It uses an onboard GPS, and you can program it to follow waypoints on a schedule, as well as to operate its camera. It's a pretty nifty thing, and there's a large community working on modifications to them. For example, I know of one person who's working on a "Roomba-style" charging/docking pad that it can fly back to automatically when its battery gets low, then take off again when it gets a new charge. Excepting severe weather, a pair of them could keep 24/7 surveillance on a target with no human involvement.

Perspective (1)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183594)

  1. Think about when only the government had high resolution satilites.
  2. Then think about the services you gained access to when non-government groups got access to the same technology.
  3. Now think of the abuses of power and privacy that the government has used their satellites for over the years.
  4. Now think about the abuses of power and privacy that non-government groups committed who later got access to the same technology.
  5. It seems, to me at least, that the services we received were far greater and the abuses far less from non-government groups.
  6. I suspect the situation with unmanned automated vehicles will be similar.

And of course there will be situations where government uses private services to snoop on your private property [slashdot.org] , which are sort of in the middle.

Re:Perspective (1)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183654)

Don't forget that some people don't have the same government as yourself, therefore I cannot comment on what your government has/hasn't done with this technology.

Perspective Relativity (1)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183690)

Don't forget that some people don't have the same government as yourself, therefore I cannot comment on what your government has/hasn't done with this technology.

Mind enlightening us on your particular government's use/non-use of UAV's?

Re:Perspective Relativity (1)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183798)

I don't know that my government owns any UAV's, however we have laws that require warrents for government officials/police etc.. to perform surveillance on people. (New Zealand Government that is) However the average person is allowed to record any conversation they are a part of, record anything/anyone they see, and follow anyone to see where they go and what they do. However spying on someone in their home goes over the line, and will not hold up in court.

Re:Privacy (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183872)

As long as the only pictures they take are legal ones from public places (including airspace), I don't have a problem.

It's always heartwarming to see people conflate the unrelated concepts of "legal" and "ethical."

Backyard party (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184068)

So you don't have a problem with them taking a picture of your backyard party and posting it if you have a privacy fence so its not visible from the street?

I have a problem with it, and yes i realize its 'air space' but they are crossing a moral line if they start doing that.

Can... (3, Insightful)

Cap'nPedro (987782) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183174)

They can carry spy-o-scopes, but that doesn't mean they will.

In fact, they aren't even mentioned in either linked article as far as I can see.

Re:Can... (3, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183246)

They can carry spy-o-scopes, but that doesn't mean they will.

Yes, because everyone knows that Google would never spy on anyone.

Re:Can... (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183520)

Exactly! They've got this "do-no-evil" clause that protects us from them!

Re:Can... (3, Interesting)

rhook (943951) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183620)

Yeah, because we all know that Google would never spy on anyone, or partner with anyone who does, like say the CIA.

http://www.dailytech.com/Former+Agent+Says+Google+and+CIA+in+Partnership/article4774.htm [dailytech.com]

http://www.dailypaul.com/node/141153 [dailypaul.com]

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/exclusive-google-cia/ [wired.com]

You'd better watch out (3, Funny)

qpawn (1507885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183178)

It sees you when you're sleeping, it knows when you're awake, it knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.

Re:You'd better watch out (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183558)

It sees you when you're sleeping, it knows when you're awake, it knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.

So you're saying that Santa Claus is real? That Google is Santa Claus?

This could get complicated.

Re:You'd better watch out (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183788)

That Google is Santa Claus?

Well, both Google and Santa Claus give out all kinds of free goodies, so it's possible. Besides, Santa's been in beta for a while now.

Pull! (5, Funny)

spywhere (824072) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183196)

If I see it above my street, I'll put up a cloud of birdshot...

Re:Pull! (1, Flamebait)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183282)

People who abuse their right to guns are the reason some think we shouldn't have said right.

Re:Pull! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183354)

Then repeal the 2nd amendment of the US Constitution, or stfu.

Re:Pull! (5, Insightful)

adamdoyle (1665063) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183378)

If you don't have the mental capacity to recognize a joke then you don't have the capacity to form educated opinions on legal issues.

Re:Pull! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183572)

It wasn't a joke, many people feel this way and even act on such impulses. But most of them don't live in urban neighborhoods.

Re:Pull! (4, Informative)

FeepingCreature (1132265) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183710)

It's called Poe's Law. Look it up.

Re:Pull! (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184250)

Indeed, the rash shooting down of surveillance drones is at the very heart of the anti-gun movement. It is similar to the "global warming"/"green" anti-car movement that began when Al Gore's beloved kitten was run over by an SUV.

Re:Pull! (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183528)

Smile when you do it. They'll have a high res mug shot for the police and your exact GPS location. :)

Re:Pull! (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183736)

or perhaps a home made SAM? (microcontroller, ir sensor, model rocket).

Re:Pull! (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183852)

This is Slashdot, for FSMs sake!

HERF the fucker instead using a hidden antenna.

No birdshot, no frothing anti-freedom (even the Daily Kos "gets" the Second Amendment), anti-gun screeching triggered by the suggestion of birdshot,

and the HERFed device satisfyingly quits working.

Free microdrone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183202)

score!

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183236)

Pull the trigger and it's garbage.

Re:heh (5, Funny)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183264)

Pull the trigger and it's garbage.

Sounds like an idea for a website, send in your photos of your downed Google drones, with you standing there holding it up like a 10 point buck. Googlefail.com or some such.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183622)

Pull the trigger and it's garbage.

Sounds like an idea for a website, send in your photos of your downed Google drones, with you standing there holding it up like a 10 point buck. Googlefail.com or some such.

fuck that is funny!

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183556)

There aren't very many people with guns here in Germany. :P

Re:heh (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183672)

Not really, Germany has quite high number of guns per capita - which, while not translating directly to "percentage of population" (for example: any self-respecting hunter will have minimum two after all), does mean there's quite enough people with guns. Plus since, IIRC, large portion of them are indeed those with hunting licenses - there will be enough guns of most appropriate type.

Still, I wouldn't expect such sillinesss taking place...

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183582)

Current quote of the day at the bottom of the page: "Pull the trigger and you're garbage." -- Lady Blue

Re:heh (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184138)

I bet they will be a bit high for shooting at, but would be a good test for that home built heat seeking missile project.

Seems like more of what they do already (4, Interesting)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183254)

I don't see how these would be any different than their existing aerial photography. All of the high resolution stuff they have is from planes with cameras at a few thousand feet. I'm guessing they want to integrate this into their existing street view runs. As the van drives around, they launch one or more of these up to refresh their overhead images. After 45 minutes or so, they run low on battery, and fly back to the van for replacement and download. You make the route planning automated, the drivers spend a couple minutes every hour doing maintenance, and now everything Google uses is owned by them rather than licensed from some 3rd party.

Re:Seems like more of what they do already (3, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183366)

I don't see how these would be any different than their existing aerial photography. All of the high resolution stuff they have is from planes with cameras at a few thousand feet.

Their's, not their competitions' who use aerial photographs from about 100m to do "Bird's Eye View". It's much better than Google's and I find myself using Bing's maps more and more. Perhaps this is so that they can do the same sort of thing w/o having to outfit a Cessna.

Re:Seems like more of what they do already (4, Informative)

paul248 (536459) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183484)

Google already has a 45-degree bird's eye view in some areas. Switch to satellite view and zoom into their Mountain View headquarters, for example.

Re:Seems like more of what they do already (1)

bami (1376931) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183678)

That's a whole load of solar panels. I also spot a sort-of chessboard next to the entrance and a basketball court on the parking lot, but the whole place looks pretty deserted, with only a few people walking around and the parking lot is pretty empty.

I love this view, it's like simcity, but real!

Re:Seems like more of what they do already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33184120)

Being that it's hard to figure out where it's available it's useless.

Re:Seems like more of what they do already (1)

darthlurker (663459) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183472)

Being unmanned is one big difference. Local police want aerial drones too. But FAA has been saying no.

Re:Seems like more of what they do already (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183548)

Yeah, nice quality (but not "too good" - such drones can't carry really good photographic gear, for starters) aerial photos, frequently updated, lower cost, lesser risk than sending small airplanes for similar shots & in the same places & as frequently; perhaps also a nice way to obtain textures for Google Earth - what's not to like?

Not everything needs to be about 1984; especially since such photos were already being made. Now they can show more places, and be more current, something which people certainly want.

Re:Seems like more of what they do already (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183586)

I can't wait until the day Americans wake up and decide not to be manipulated by outrage anymore. We can face our problems calmly and rationally and actually get them fixed, instead of getting outraged and emotional and doing nothing but giving ad revenue to the people who are trying to manipulate us.

People will get tired of outrage eventually, right?

Brought to you by... (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183258)

Please amend "Do No Evil" to read "You'd better 'Do No Evil' or we'll get you!"

Opt-Out file? (5, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183268)

Can't you just place a robots.txt file on your property to tell the GoogleDrone not to index it?

Re:Opt-Out file? (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183512)

Use IR reflective paint and become invisible!

Re:Opt-Out file? (2, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183642)

Does the law in your area prevent you from painting your rooftop with a shocking picture of your choice?

Re:Opt-Out file? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183854)

hmm, maybe arrange your root files using black and white tiles so that it shows a QR code for "private".

Sinisterish (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183272)

One? I expect very high resolution aerial views of the Googleplex office compound then.

Can != will (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183276)

Yes, the drones can carry long wavelength cameras to see through walls. They could also carry nuclear weapons. Irrational paranoia aside, Google is probably just trying to compete with Bing's Birds-Eye map capabilities.

Re:Can != will (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183348)

Yes, but that's Microsoft. Google doesn't have a proven privacy record.

Re:Can != will (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183526)

Yes, the drones can carry long wavelength cameras to see through walls. They could also carry nuclear weapons. Irrational paranoia aside, Google is probably just trying to compete with Bing's Birds-Eye map capabilities.

Irrational paranoia? Who have you been talking to!

Re:Can != will (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183550)

You're telling me they could also carry nuclear weapons?! Run for your life!

sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183278)

Seems Google wont stop until we all live in transparent houses and
wear big name tags...

Re:sigh (2, Insightful)

FlyMysticalDJ (1660959) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183406)

I thought that was facebook...

My plan is foolproof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183316)

I'm going to launch my iPhone into orbit as a satellite. At the appropriate moment, when the google spy drone is overhead, my phone will descend from the heavens and destroy it.

Skynet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183326)

Skynet!

Probably cheaper... (3, Insightful)

interfecio (1023595) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183344)

...more efficient, and faster to get up to date imagery for maps than to wait and pay for satellite imagery. Military has these planes that fly by themselves to take pictures to update maps. This looks like it's just the civilian sector following lead. I can only imagine that aligning and presenting imagery data from an aircraft is a lot easier and requires less compute/man hours than satellite imagery. Especially if the need is only for new imagery of a small area.

Re:Probably cheaper... (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183380)

actually a fair amount of the imagery comes from aircraft already - it would be hard to believe that the soda straw view provided by this little drone could be cost effective - the coverage rate is so low you'd need thousands of them to get the equivalent coverage of an aircraft

Re:Probably cheaper... (2, Interesting)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183554)

Those microdrones can fly at ridiculous heights.

For all intents and purposes they are a plane. Just slower, more stable and easier to set up and use.

Re:Probably cheaper... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184378)

I can only imagine that aligning and presenting imagery data from an aircraft is a lot easier and requires less compute/man hours than satellite imagery.

Since they're exactly the same job - no, I see no reason why there should be any significant difference in the work involved.
 

Especially if the need is only for new imagery of a small area.

True of *one* small area. Multiply that by the (tens of?) thousands of changes annually in the US alone...

I'd happily let them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183356)

...take a picture of my exposed body if it meant Google Maps wasn't 8 YEAR BEHIND.

Damn it so much crap has changed in and around where i live.
One of the oldest primary schools knocked down. (in that area)
A whole chunk of new housing, hotels, car showrooms around the main roundabout entrance to the town, widened roads at there as well.
A whole shopping centre area just a few minutes North of that. (town is West)
Main town area has been all updated with new walkways and roads
That's just the biggest things.

Re:I'd happily let them... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184348)

I know exactly what you mean. There are two places I used to live that have drastically views from street view to satellite view.

    At one place, the satellite view is years old. It's not a very interesting place to look though.

    Then there's this one (West corner of Doran and Isabel). The satellite view [google.com] is from within the last year. The street view [google.com] is from at least 2 years ago, but probably longer.

    I lived there several years ago. I stopped by a couple years ago, and the house had been torn down, and they had just began construction on condos.

    The really annoying part was, that could have been a beautiful house. It was beautiful inside. The house was built in 1924, and had a notable history. The owner bought it and the house next door. We were renting it while he secured the necessary permits to build the condos. We were there for a year. Someone else moved in after us, and sometime after that it was gone. Most of the historical homes in that area were torn down, because the property was worth more with condos on it.

There is a hobby group for UAVs (5, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183388)

In fact, there are several. Aside from an RC plane of some sort, all you need is about $100 in parts and some electronics know-how to build your own (basic) UAV.

Of course, it won't be as sophisticated as a multi-million dollar micro-UAV or one of the Air Force's Predator drones, but medium range (several miles) surveillance, automated take-offs and landings, GPS waypoint tracking, infrared cameras, etc. are not outside the realm of the hobbyist.

Check out http://www.diydrones.com/ [diydrones.com] to see what I mean.

Re:There is a hobby group for UAVs (2, Informative)

hkz (1266066) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183474)

In fact, some Dutch OpenStreetMap people are working on their own UAV, also with mapping in mind:

http://blog.opengeo.nl/ [opengeo.nl]

Re:There is a hobby group for UAVs (3, Informative)

deapbluesea (1842210) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183658)

Aside from an RC plane of some sort, all you need is about $100 in parts and some electronics know-how to build your own (basic) UAV.

While the FAA has recognized that most of these toy UAVs still qualify as RC aircraft (as long as they stay below 400 and fly within line of sight), it is illegal in the United States for a corporation or government entity to purchase or build a UAV for commercial or public use without completing an airworthiness certificate and obtaining a Certificate of Authorization from the FAA [faa.gov] .

Per the FAA:

Currently, civilian companies may not operate a UAS as part of a business without obtaining a Special Airworthiness Certificate - Experimental Category (SAC-EC). However, this SAC-EC is very limited in scope of operational use. Contact FAA for details or see FAA Order 8130.34.

So don't expect Google to be flying this over populated areas for quite a long time. Current estimates are about 2030 or later before UAVs are fully integrated in the national airspace, and they very likely will seldom be allowed over densely populated areas without some major public good justification

Google Roof View (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183420)

No privacy issues here!

It's useful because you can, ah, make sure your roof is still in good shape and doesn't need shingles?

Yeah.

Re:Google Roof View (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183568)

Imagine a neighborhood where all the houses are the same size and all the roads are configured in a grid. Using different colors of shingles, you could make bitmap images visible from the sky.

Google's turning into Bigipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183436)

For those who missed it, Bigipedia is a stream of consciousness Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy-esque spin through the internet that was on BBC Radio 4 last year. Google is increasingly resembling that which was once satire.

News organizations, danger zones (2, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183464)

I am really surprised news organizations have not started using these to cover situations.

Live from Irag/Afghanistan/Mogadishu/Pakistan ...

Bing Bird's Eye (1)

flabbergast (620919) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183478)

I could see this as an alternative to Bing Bird's Eye photos. Yes, there are privacy issues. virtualglobetrotting.com has tracked down high profile homes and viewing them in Bing Bird's Eye is surreal.

Is it just me . . . ? (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183504)

"Is it just me, or is Google entering dangerous airspace here?" Yes, it is just you. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Google Testing an Airborne Camera Drone (1)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183534)

That's a coincidence! I happen to be testing homemade Patriots in my backyard.

two words. (2, Interesting)

Dee Ann_1 (1731324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183564)

They Live.

future-proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183580)

just find the guy with QED ring!

boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33183592)

I read this "Google has already encountered with its street-level photography." but misread photography and pornography. Upon realizing my mistake I lost interest.

The future (1)

kahizonaki (1226692) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183600)

Welcome to Google! "We know more about you than your own mother"
Search terms: | What is my girlfriend doing right now? |
...
...
Query returned: 2 results (3.793932 seconds for observation drones to move into position)
Result#1: Drone39103 (IR Camera, MMwavelength, NV Camera, Stereo camera) in position over 1722 Walnut St., Stalintown IN, residence of Ms. Wendy Smith, SSN 232-28-8821, google person number 399925800-1F
Result#2: Drone00192 (NV Camera, BFLaser) in position over 1722 Walnut St., Stalintown IN, residence of Ms. Wendy Smith, SSN 232-28-8821, google person number 399925800-1F
PS friendly message from your friendly google monitor: "ur gurlfrend is hawt lol! XOXO" END OF TRANSMISSION

SPONSORED ADVERTISEMENT: Vaporize your enemies! New, with google BigBrother! All drones are being outfitted with...

If this was the government it'd be a flame war... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183626)

If this was the CIA, DoD, a major law enforcement agency, or hell a small one, this wouldn't even be up for debate. It would be Bad.

If it were Microsoft, HP, Halliburton or Blackwater/Xe, it would be Terrible.

If this was a Bush administration plan, it would be the End Times for Civil Liberties.

Google should not get the benefit of the doubt about it's intentions and uses for surveillance drones, it should be raked over the coals and everyone and their cousin should be hitting up the regulatory agencies managing the permits and licences of these aircraft.

Oh boy! (1)

qoa (704941) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183664)

I cannot wait to hear what Alex Jones has to say about this. He already thinks Google and the NSA are the same thing. (his words). He's going to have a coronary.

I can't help but think... (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183698)

I can't help but think they only got this just so they would have a cool toy to play with at their Mountain View campus

For the Fear Mongers who are too lazy to RTA (3, Insightful)

aitikin (909209) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183808)

This is the first article linked, emphasis mine:

German publication Wirtschaftswoche (“Economy Week”) says [www.wiwo.de] that German manufacturer Microdrones has delivered a cam-equipped flying mini drone to Google. Microdrones boss Mr. Juerss is quoted as saying “We have good chances for a long term business relationship with Google” (is he just overly optimistic? Google wasn’t available for comment to the magazine). According to him the drones “are superbly suited to deliver more up-to-date recordings for mapping service Google Earth.” Another potential use mentioned by Juerss is inspecting wind farms.

If Google continues to exist I guess it’s only natural they continue to expand their tools (same could be said for the world at large), lest laws stop them. For the time being we may want our faces and living rooms blurred, but who knows where we’re headed. Will there be a day where everyone’s non-privacy is our best privacy protection (like a camouflage pattern), or will we be scared to do anything unusual, creative and progressive with so much supervision (like 1984)?

In the original German article, they mention how some of the drones they've sold have been equipped with IR and thermal imaging technologies, and give you a teaser that you can come back on Monday to read about the companies that already use the technologies.

Sounds to me like Google is merely trying to vastly improve Google Maps and Google Earth's satellite views with cheap yet efficient technologies, and Wirtschaftswoche is just trying to sell magazines. Of course, who am I to be a naysayer of the tinfoil hat wearing among us...

If you want to find out how evil Google is... (1)

dollarwizard (1806856) | more than 4 years ago | (#33183970)

...just ask any small business that has been banned from advertising on Google's Adwords network. I'm not going to plug my own business here, but I run a software company and was forced to lay off three people because Google decided my site violated their vague "Terms & Conditions." (They did not tell me what my supposed violations were.)

However, I will give you two examples of two other small businesses that were banned from Adwords. The first is this one [sierrapest...olreno.com] , a small local pest-control company Reno. If anyone can find anything objectionable about that site, definitely let me know! Read their story here [google.gy] . (Scroll down to the 6th reply.)

Here's another company [tgci.com] banned from Adwords, in this case a company in LA that has helped non-profits obtain grants for the past 35 years. You can read their story here [google.com] .

Re:If you want to find out how evil Google is... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184230)

The first is this one, a small local pest-control company Reno. If anyone can find anything objectionable about that site, definitely let me know!

I'm guess because Google's tools automatically ban companies called "Sier Rapist". I'm guessing that they probably ban all professional rapists. So, when you graduate with a masters in psychoanalysis and decide to open a practice as a therapist, you probably don't want to put that you are an ANALRAPIST [youtube.com] on your business cards.

remote launchable surface to google interceptor (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184056)

Its time.
Lets begin an effort to thwart airborne eavesdropping.

I propose a home based monitoring system followed by a seeking-intercept-rocket to stop these drones.

Instructable, please join in. [instructables.com]

Can it dodge a slingshot-propelled rock? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184170)

If not, I'll be picking up the pieces of one of these drones real soon now. If Google wants it back they are welcome to come and get it.

Have they fit it with a WiFi logger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33184256)

Because that's what really put Street View "on the map" so to speak.

New term: war piloting. (1)

casings (257363) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184286)

You know Google is going to "accidentally" forget to turn off their wifi sniffers on these guys too.

Tool (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 4 years ago | (#33184296)

You can crack open a clam with a rock. Or you can crack open another persons skull.
You can warm yourself and cook meals with fire. Or you can torch someones house down.
You can shoot food for your family with a gun. Or you can shoot a family.

Just because the tools become more advanced does not change the moral dilemma that has faced mankind with the proper use of all tools. They can be used for good, or evil.

The tool itself is just a tool. This article is just hype for the sake of hype.

yo0 fail it? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33184370)

CIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33184416)

How much of Google does IN-Q-TEL own?

It's the intelligence-industrial complex. NSA and CIA have been privatising their operations. Drawing important skills from the private sector aside, it has allowed them to (1) tap into a LOT of information about its citizens; and (2) side-step some laws forbidding certain operations (like monitoring citizens).

A tidy little arrangement.

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