Via twitter comes the news that the FBI are Investigating a Drone at JFK Airport.
On Monday, March, 4, 2013, at approximately 1:15 p.m., the pilot of Alitalia Flight #608 spotted a small, unmanned aircraft while on approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport. The Alitalia flight was roughly three miles from runway 31R when the incident occurred at an altitude of approximately 1,750 feet. The unmanned aircraft came within 200 feet of the Alitalia plane.
The FBI is investigating the incident and looking to identify and locate the aircraft and its operator. The unnamed aircraft was described as black in color and no more than three feet wide with four propellers.
Interestingly they don’t use the term drone, just “unmanned aircraft”.
There isn’t any suggestion that this was criminal or terrorist involvement. The point is that this is only the start.
Every norm or principle laid down in all the UN and other human rights charters for the past 100 years plus rests upon unstated assumptions about how things work. These assumptions were unstated because everyone agreed that certain practical limits actually applied.
The idea that a cyborg-bug equipped with a poisonous dart might zig-zag down any street in the world threatening to kill a political leader or foment mass terror in a skyscraper by flying through an open window or crawling through an air vent was literally unthinkable.It could never happen. No rules needed to be contemplated for this situation, as it could not exist.
Yet it’s now happening. These technologies now exist. And will get cheaper and more widespread in leaps and bounds.
A crazy regulatory arms-race between the state and crowd-sourced inventors and technologists will not solve the problem – the state will always lag behind the technical possibilities.
How does one begin to work out how a world like this will function, when every operational assumption about security and privacy risk management (and thus the intellectual foundation for all our human rights) collapses almost overnight?
We’re not at this point yet. It’s probably time to think about it before we get there.