Don’t blame the robots, says law professor Gregory McNeal—instead, focus on the activity of surveillance itself.

Brookings Institute

A report published this week by the Brookings Institute urges Congress not to respond to public concerns about the privacy implications of unmanned aircraft with a raft of drone-specific legislation. Instead, the focus should be on pervasive surveillance of all kinds—and the report’s author—Gregory McNeal, a professor of law at Pepperdine University and a contributor to Forbes—believes that drones and automated surveillance may actually provide better privacy controls than are available for human surveillance.
In his report, McNeal wrote that a recent wave of anti-drone legislation at the state level “focused on the technology (drones), not the harm (pervasive surveillance).”
“In many cases, this technology-centric approach creates perverse results, allowing the use of extremely sophisticated pervasive surveillance technologies from manned aircraft, while disallowing benign uses of drones for mundane tasks like accident and crime scene documentation, or monitoring of industrial pollution and other environmental harms,” he continued.
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